Iris cristata Native Dwarf Crested Iris Potted Plants
(EYE-ris  kris-TAY-tuh)

Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers Native Wild Flower Plants and Seed
for Home Landscaping and Prairie Restoration

Iris cristata 
Dwarf Crested Iris
photo by cj 
Habitat Bloom Period Color Height Inches Moisture Plant Spacing Lifespan
Iris cristata Dwarf Crested Iris flower picture medium shade to partial sun April - May Blue with white/yellow crest 6 to 8 inches average to moist 6 to 12 inches Perennial

Iris cristata Dwarf Crested Iris potted plants ARE available, $5.00 each plus Boxing/Shipping
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Iris cristata Dwarf Crested Iris Potted Plants $5.00 each plus boxing/shipping

Iris cristata or Dwarf Crested Iris, is a small showy native wild iris wildflower occurring naturally on rocky wooded slopes and along bluffs in cherty or limestone soils and along sandy stream banks from D C. to Indiana and Missouri south to North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  Dwarf Crested Iris only grows 6 to 8 inches tall and will not be a problem plant.  Flowers are 2 to 3 inches wide with three smaller petals and three larger sepals with a yellow or white, bearded ridge outlined by a dark purple margin.  Crested Iris spreads by creeping root-like rhizomes and thrives in shaded rock gardens, preferring well drained soils.

The map below shows areas where native Iris cristata (Dwarf Crested Iris) plants grow wild but they can be planted and will grow over a much wider area.  USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 8.

Iris cristata plants
Dwarf Crested Iris

North Carolina
South Carolina
West Virginia
State Distributional Map for IRCR

email with your zip code and number of plants for shipping charges on Native Iris cristata Dwarf Crested Iris potted plants


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Native Iris cristata, wild Dwarf Crested Iris plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.









Iris cristata Ait.
Dwarf crested iris
Iridaceae (Iris Family)
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

This is a small iris its clusters of narrow pointed leaves ranging in height from only 4-16 in. The sepals of the its blue-violet flowers are distinctly marked with a central yellow or white purple striped band. Crested ridges called beards occur along the band. One (occasionally 2) violet-blue flower with 6 spreading petal-like parts atop a short slender stalk.

This is a low iris of southern and midwestern wooded uplands. Dwarf Iris (I. verna) has non-crested sepals narrower leaves less than 1/2 (1.5 cm) wide and occurs in peaty soil and pine barrens from New York south to Florida west to Arkansas and northeast to Missouri Kentucky and Ohio. 

Plant Characteristics
Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 1-3 ft. 

Bloom Information
Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May 

USA: AL , AR , GA , IL , IN , KY , MD , MA , MS , MO , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV , DC
Native Distribution: PA to GA w. to e. OK
Native Habitat: Rocky wooded slopes; bluffs; sandy stream banks 

Growing Conditions
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Well-drained acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Soils which are too rich encourage rank vegetative growth in this species. Ordinary dryish soil is preferable.

Description: If seeds are collected they should be planted immediately in acid soil. Seedlings will take two or three years to flower. Propagating by division is much more reliable than seeds. Divide in early fall when the leaves have begun to yellow.
Seed Collection: Collect the leathery capsule approximately 6-8 weeks after flowering when they have turned brown. Only a small percentage of flowers in a population will produce capsules. Storage greatly reduces viability.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Crested iris

Neubeckia cristata (Solander ex Aiton) Alefeld

Rhizomes producing fleshy roots, and 28 cordlike branches at apex, cordlike portion 23 dm 12 mm, gradually enlarging to 812 mm diam., nodes with brown, scalelike leaves and rarely roots. Stems simple, 2.54.5 cm. Leaves: basal 68, proximal 23 sheathing, blade light brown with darker brown line along midrib at base, falcate, scarious, distal 45 not sheathing, blade green or yellowish green, with few, subprominent veins, broadly ensiform, slightly falcate, to 1.5 dm 12.5 cm, enlarging to 4 dm after anthesis; cauline 23, sheathing, proximal very similar to basal leaves, distal 1 or 2 reduced, herbaceous, blade falcate, not inflated. Inflorescence units 12-flowered; spathes green, sharply keeled, somewhat inflated, 26 cm, unequal, outer shorter than inner. Flowers: perianth blue, lilac-purple, or white; floral tube filiform, widening distally, 48 cm, lifting expanded portion of flower out of spathes; sepals spreading, with 3 parallel, toothed, crested ridges on white signal bordered with purple, tapering gradually into claw, 36 1.52.5 cm, base gradually attenuate, apex rounded, emarginate; petals spreading, same color as sepals, oblanceolate, 34 12 cm; ovary triangular, with shallow groove along each face, 0.61 cm; style 1.5 cm, crests narrowly triangular, 69 mm; stigmas oblong, margins entire; pedicel 0.71.8 cm. Capsules usually enclosed in spathes, oval, sharply triangular, each angle ridged, 11.5 cm. Seeds yellowish brown, 3.23.5 mm, smooth, with narrow, white appendage wrapped around seed, 3.44 mm, quickly drying upon exposure to air. 2n = 24, 32.

Flowering Apr--Jul. Rich woods, ravines, bluffs, usually in calcareous soil; Ala., Ark., D.C., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Md., Miss., Mo., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va.