Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Wild Iris

Wild Iris

These tiny Iris grow prolifically around my mountain holler. Their shades vary from pale blue to a deeper purple. Wild Dwarf Crested Iris can be found growing from New York to Florida and as far west as Arkansas.

Miniature iris

Their leaves are the same sword like shape found on large Bearded Iris-just in miniature form.

Wild iris growing in appalachia

Dwarf Crested Iris usually grow in small clumps, you can see the rain we had last week almost washed the blooms right off these. Wild Dwarf Iris are like Bloodroot in the sense that by mid Summer they’ve completely disappeared waiting till next Spring to make their presence known again.

Dwarf crested iris in wester nc

Years ago when The Deer Hunter and I moved into our house I transplanted a few clumps of Wild Dwarf Iris into my flower beds. My Uncle said they’d never live, but he was wrong they’re still going strong all these years later.

There are also Wild Dwarf Crested Iris that have white blooms, although I’ve never seen any in my area.



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  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    May 1, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Our mother loved irises. We had a large picture of them in our living room while she was alive. It had an ornate white frame resembling twisted rope that we had to wash with toothbrushes occasionally. I wonder where that picture went.
    There was also a large bed of yellow and purple ones under the gutter downspout on the northeast side of the house for a time, and some large beds around the posts at each end of the clotheslines, although our Dad often mowed those down with the lawnmower.
    I’ve tried to grow them here, but they rarely survive the wind, although I do try to get a few blooms inside in a vase before the wind gets them.
    Prayers for a GREAT week ahead for everyone.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2016 at 5:48 am

    Years ago my Wife and I would every spring walk down in the holler behind our house and look at the wild iris, dutchmens britches, trileum, Solomon Seal, False Solomon Seal, Jack in the Pulpit, just a whole host of wild flowers that would grow between March and May that don’t grow up where we live..

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 1, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I got distracted today and didn’t follow up – sorry.
    Those are, as b. ruth and Jim surmised, immature galax blooms or shoots. Here’s what they’ll look like in a month or so (depending on elevation):
    Individual bloom (probably 3-4 inches long):
    A Christmas time trinity of galax, partridgeberry and moss:
    And yes, b. ruth, we had a fine gathering of ramps a week ago and have been enjoying them. We normally saute’ them (with the doors and windows of the kitchen open ;-), but Miz Susan grilled some pork for dinner, and threw some ramp bulbs and leaves on with it. She doesn’t like mustard greens, so had hers with her potato, but I mixed mine in with a big bowl of fresh mustard greens. That was the first time I’d done it, but it surely won’t be the last – they really go together well.
    While we did our own digging, ramps have been for sale at a fruit store in town for a couple-three weeks. Then when I did my senior discount day shopping at IGA this week, I noticed that they had them for sale as well.
    Now you know you’re in a good place when there’s ramp selling competition.
    Ed, I know the plant (weed) you’re talking about, and when it is mature its shoot looks a lot like these immature galax blooms. I don’t know the name of it, though.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 30, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    and Don….I saw these earlier…I believe it is Galax…They usually come in full bloom after the Dwarf Crested Iris….
    Did you ever get any ramps?
    Would you believe the deer or ground hog ate what few tame Leeks we had…I pulled the only one left yesterday…just enough to season some tater soup!
    Later you ‘all,
    We’ve got to go to the Grandsons ballgame, on this our 51st anniversary, what a wonderful way to celebrate…I wouldn’t have it any other way….just hope the rain holds off…we had a “toad-strangler” earlier today…
    PS…All Cucumbers are up, trying to put on 2nd leaves!
    Kens beans, Asparagus (yard long) beans, rattlesnake and Kentucky wonder beans are up….
    I planted some tomato seeds just by cutting them into slices covering with dirt…They came up quick…Black, yellow and red grapes….I am sure going to do this next year. These I bought a big mixture at Costco’s ate some planted a couple of each variety…just sliced and planted…They came up thick…but don’t they all…going to implant the idea of the fittest survive before dividing an planting in the bigger garden..

  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    How beautiful!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Tipper–I am virtually certain I know the answer to Don’s question about the “spears,” and I’ll give a hint to others without specifically stating my answer. Think about a plant which once had considerable commercial value, which has given its name in a mountain town in a neighboring state, and which can be a most becoming Christmas decoration.
    As for the wild iris, I would put them among my top ten favorites when it comes to wildflowers, although several–showy orchis, pink and yellow lady slippers, trilliums, and wake robins would come ahead of it. I’ve never seen white dwarf iris.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 30, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I used to see them at Needmore. From a distance they look like ramps. Where I live now is grown over farmland. Most of the native plants haven’t come back yet, but I do see wild flowers occasionally. Maybe someday the wild Iris will return.
    Wild animals are a different story. We have deer, turkey, rabbits, etc, Everwhere. Crows, hawks, cranes, eagles, ducks, geese, and a multitude of songbirds. I am listening to one outside my window now saying pretty-pretty-pretty-pretty.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I don’t know much, especially about flowers, but I’ve pulled lots of those spear-like things Don talked about. Maybe he’ll re-post a comment and tell us what they are. Awhile back I had thousands of them little blue-purpleish flowers in my lawn here at the shop. I’ll bet they ain’t 1″ tall and seems like they just got 4 leaves. I call them African Violets, but what do I know? A lawnmower won’t even bother them, but those things we use to blow as a kid are everwhere. They’re Dandelions or something and you can almost hear them growin’ after a rain…Ken

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 30, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I so love wildflowers! One year we were driving up through South Carolina and the roadway was glorious with blossoms. We stopped at a small gas station/store and I said I’m going in to see if they know what this flower is – it’s so pretty. When I asked the lady looked at me and said “Dey be wildflowers” I said, “I know but what kind of flower” She looked at me with an ‘are you dense’ expression and said, a wee bit louder, “Dey Be Wildflowers” The wildflowers were cosmos. That’s now a standard comeback in our family when you ask a question – Dey Be Wildflowers 🙂

  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 10:56 am

    so lovely! The “little spears” remind me of grape hyacinth – are they part of the iris? I was totally enamored by the profusion of lush and blooming beautiful plants during our 4 years in Virginia but I never saw these.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 10:24 am

    What beautiful little Iris. I met a lady just this week who gave me some tiny little Iris just like these! I’m excited to see them growing wild.
    PS to Don – I think I know the answer to your question about the “little spears” in the photos or at least what we call them.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 30, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I love them as well, Tipper. We saw dozens of lovely patches of them along Noland Creek on last Sunday.
    Now for a test for you:
    What are the spear-like shoots that can be seen in the first and last photos?
    If you don’t know right off, take a look at some of the leaves.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 30, 2016 at 9:32 am

    The Dwarf Crested Iris grew in the woods and along roadbanks in Choestoe, my mountain home. I have never tried to replant them in my own flower beds, but admired them as I had walks in the woods. Such beauty grows for our pleasure and enjoyment. Rejoice in God’s creation and in eyes to see it, minds to absorb beauty!

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    April 30, 2016 at 9:12 am

    They are so beautiful! I love the purple color. I remember was I was very young going on walks with my Dad and we would pick Iris and bring home to Mom.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 30, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I love these Dwarf Crested Iris….Mine have already finished blooming last week. my goodness, you have them en masse! The last couple of years mine seem to run with their little rhizomes and space themselves apart, with only two or three swords present.
    Like you I moved mine from the top of the ridge down here a bit lower where I could see them. I am definitely going to have to give them some loving care as they are beginning to drop down off the bank on the driveway. They were once like yours but still probably not as many, beautiful clump that you have.
    I moved a lot of wildflowers off the old stage coach road behind our house closer. At one time I had a very prolific wild flower garden…Some have survived and moved around our place. I even moved a Laurel and Pinkster, they lived for many years until the goats, etc. got out of hand one year. ha
    No goats now, only deer but they just like some of my azaleas…but only if it Is a cold hard winter for them. I wish there was some way I could duplicate the wet weather spring habitat close to the house. It starts its drip out of a rocky bank about halfway up our ridge and runs all the way down, about two to four feet wide. Years ago someone built a deep concrete cistern midway to supply drinking water for the cabins around…but the cabins are gone but the cistern remains…
    What I was getting to and went the long way around…was the many many differerent ferns and wild flowers that grow on or near the banks of that trickling down stream…You know when I used to go back in there (can’t get there with the rollator) I would sit until almost time for the kids to come home and just meditate…I also watched the dragonflies, snail darters and of course the fairies dance around on all the beautiful green moss!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Do you have any Trailing Arbutus, your banks would make a great habitat!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I don’t remember seeing any here in my area of Caldwell County, but I plan to search for them. They are so pretty; thanks for bringing them to your readers’ attention. I really enjoy looking at Iris, especially the bearded ones which I have growing around the house.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 30, 2016 at 8:27 am

    I’m glad your transplants worked. The little iris are really cuteys. I have a small patch beside the walk that the previous owner planted. But I don’t think they are happy. They have spread little, if at all, and bloom only once in a great while.
    Over in the Cohutta Mountain foothills in northwest Georgia there is a dry woods species of dwarf iris. When given more light they bloom heavily.

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    April 30, 2016 at 7:57 am

    These little gems are so refreshing toward the end of Spring. They come up every year in one spot along Otter Creek, and nowhere else in the valley that I have found so far.
    Also opening this week are the Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchids, VERY rare in these parts.
    Check out this blog post I did two years ago on May 3rd…..
    I love all the reawakening going on every day.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 30, 2016 at 7:47 am

    One of my favorite flowers, I used to search for them growing up in East Tennessee and on occasion, I also found the white ones.
    I have a couple of nice clumps near my house, but they disappear almost as suddenly as they appear. The flowers disappeared a couple of days ago.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 30, 2016 at 7:15 am

    I have some of these flowers in my yard, they are lovely. I think they are so pretty because they are one of the first things to bloom!

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