The iris flower is a hardy herbaceous perennial that belongs to the extensive and beautiful family iridaceae plants. The word Iris means a rainbow in both Greek and Latin so it is considered to be the bridge between heaven and earth and is sacred for the Greek goddess of love; it is also the symbol of eloquence. In ancient Greece the graves of women were covered with irises.
The genus Iris has about 200 species and is native of North Temperate regions of the world but one cannot argue with the beauty of an iris flower, regardless of the species or cultivar. Some of the species have very large flowers, which, from their being very vivid, and several uniting in the same blossom are extremely showy. The style arms can also add to the beauty of the iris flower. Iris is highly variable for traits such as flower colour and flower size and its sword-like foliage is attractive when the plant is not in bloom.
All iris flowers have at least six petals although some Japanese irises produce more. Those who have beard are referred to as bearded irises and the others are logically called beardless irises. The leaves of the iris flower are long and thin, and grow from the bottom of the plant. The range of colors found in irises is simply amazing, from white yellow orange pink lilac to purple blue brown and black with many tones and color combinations in between. No iris flower is truly real although the louisianas have orange-red tones. The habitat of iris also varies a lot. Some irises grow in deserts, some in swamps, some in the cold far north, and many in temperate climates.
Japanese iris, Siberian iris, Louisiana iris, and the ubiquitous bearded iris, are all beautiful among which Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris are the two most common types. These flowers are not easily found in floral markets but fortunately they all are easy to grow and bear handsome flowers.
Different colors of irises convey different messages. Purple iris, the state flower of Tennessee, the symbol of wisdom and compliments where Blue iris is that of faith and hope. The Yellow iris symbolizes passion and on the other hand white iris symbolizes purity. A gift of iris is helpful for conveying many messages which are not truly conveyed when spoken.
Important Features about Iris:
● Iris genus is known best as a garden plants.
● The Iris was considered a symbol of power by the ancient Egyptians as they believed that a flower that appears on the brow of the Sphinx and on the scepters of their kings is Iris.
● The Iris was also a favorite flower of the Muslims, who took it to Spain after their conquest in the 8th century.
● Iris is important also as the February birth flower.
● The Indian and Egyptian cultures used the flower in art to depict life and resurrection.
● In the first century AD, the Greek physician Dioscorides found Iris to be gifted with healing powers then he recommended iris root to be drunk with honey, vinegar for coughs, colds, indigestion and sciatica. Pliny also knew the importance of Iris and praised its medicinal virtues.
● Iris roots are used to treat skin ulcers.
● The fresh root of Iris germanica is considered to be a powerful cathartic, and for this reason its juice has been used in dropsy.