The heavy spring rains will keep most of us huddled inside for now, but outside the plant world is singing–yes, singing in the rain. Tended by invisible hands, miniature gardens are bursting from the forest floor with color and promise. Here’s just one example, Dwarf Crested Iris!
As the name implies, Dwarf Crested Iris is short–only about six inches in height–but it has big flowers. The leaf blades closely resemble those of garden-variety iris, except for their short stature. The blue to lilac-colored flowers have six obvious “parts”. Three showy sepals bear a distinctive white or yellow stripe which is then outlined in darker blue or purple. This area also sports the raised “beard” or “crest” for which the plant is aptly named.
Under the right conditions, Dwarf Crested Iris will form striking colonies in the southern mountains, about the same time that violets are covering the forest floor (late April and May). Look for them on hill slopes, commonly near streams or seeps.
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