Friday, May 4, 2007

Iris Season

Oregon Iris (Iris "rainbow" tenax"holding fast"--isn't that a beautiful name? and what an interesting image, a "rainbow holding fast") is blooming everywhere! They love dry sunny meadows, road edges, and even grassy clearcuts. They seem to grow very easily from seed, and spread quickly. The bloom opens up with a deep thistle purple, then gradually fades to pale lavendar. They also have pretty dark brown seed pods in late summer.
David Douglas, a Scottish botanist, came to the Pacific Northwest in 1824 to "discover" new plants(the Douglas Fir is named for him). He reports seeing Native Americans braiding these iris leaves into snares--for anything, rabbits and ELK!!

Poor David Douglas should have stayed in Oregon. He died at 35 in Hawaii, after falling into a bull trap-pit and being crushed by the intended trappee--the bull.


Larry said...

I would like to see an iris-leaf elk trap! It's always fun to see a new rather unlikely association of words, a grouping which I'd never seen before.

Missouri has a few native iris species but I haven't encountered any yet.

cyndy said...

Wonderful photos, are they the wild iris known as blue flag? (it is hard to tell how tall they are?)

Great info about braiding the leaves...makes me want to try my hand at it ...I have an abundance of blue and yellow flag, and believe me, the leaves are strong, even when they are wintered over!

As always -I learn a little something when I stop by to read your blog, I shall never think of a Douglas Fir without thinking of a bull now...