Herbs & Plants

Iris missouriensis

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Botanical Name: Iris missouriensis
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Series: Longipetalae
Species: I. missouriensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

*Iris arizonica Dykes
*Iris haematophylla var. valametica Herb. ex Hook.
*Iris longipetala var. montana Baker
*Iris missouriensis f. alba H.St.John
*Iris missouriensis var. albiflora Cockerell
*Iris missouriensis f. angustispatha R.C.Foster
*Iris missouriensis var. arizonica (Dykes) R.C.Foster
*Iris missouriensis var. pelogonus (Goodd.) R.C.Foster
*Iris missuriensis M.Martens
*Iris montana Nutt. ex Dykes
*Iris pariensis S.L.Welsh
*Iris pelogonus Goodd.
*Iris tolmieana Herb.
*Limniris missouriensis (Nutt.) Rodion.

Common Names: Rocky Mountain Iris

Habitat : Iris missouriensis is native to native to western North America. Its distribution is varied; it grows at high elevations in mountains and alpine meadows and all the way down to sea level in coastal hills.

Iris missouriensis is an erect herbaceous rhizomatous perennial  flowering plant .It is  20 to 40 cm high, with leafless unbranched scapes (flowering stems) and linear basal leaves, 5 to 10 mm wide, similar in height to the scapes. The inflorescence usually consists of one or two flowers, exceptionally three or four. Each flower has three light to dark blue, spreading or reflexed sepals lined with purple and three smaller upright blue petals.
It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Requires a moist soil, growing well in a moist border, but intolerant of stagnant water. Easily grown in a sunny position so long as the soil is wet in the spring. A polymorphic species. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done after flowering. Another report says that it is best done in spring or early autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses:…..The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

Analgesic; Diuretic; Emetic; Odontalgic; Poultice; Salve; Stomachic.

Rocky Mountain iris was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat various complaints, but especially as an external application for skin problems. It was for a time an officinal American medicinal plant, but is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The root is emetic and odontalgic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints, stomach aches etc. The pulped root is placed in the tooth cavity or on the gum in order to bring relief from toothache. A decoction of the root has been used as ear drops to treat earaches. A poultice of the mashed roots has been applied to rheumatic joints and also used as a salve on venereal sores. Caution is advised in the use of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity. A paste of the ripe seeds has been used as a dressing on burns.

Some Plateau Indian tribes used the roots to treat toothache.
The Navajo used a decoction of this plant as an emetic.The Zuni apply a poultice of chewed root to increase strength of newborns and infants.
This iris is listed as a weed in some areas, particularly in agricultural California. It is bitter and distasteful to livestock and heavy growths of the plant are a nuisance in pasture land. Heavy grazing in an area promotes the growth of this hardy iris.

Other Uses: … Dye….Yields a green dye (part of plant used is not specified).

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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