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Iris verna Iris verna

Threatened in Ohio, endangered in Pennsylvania and Maryland and,  believe it or not,  listed as an "Injurious Weed" in Nevada.  Geez, what's next!  "Banned in Boston?"  Are these people in Nevada crazy?  How could this delicate,  diminutive,  darling,  dainty,  delicious little plant "injure" anyone? Well,  maybe you'll do a little research into that and get back to me.  OK?

Iris verna has been growing happily now in my garden after limping along for a few years.  This years flowers were not plentiful,  but as the plants seem to become more established,  their bounty increases yearly.  I grow it in dappled sun on a well drained slope.  In the wild,  it seems to favor a slightly acidic soil.

A little patience will reward you with flowers that are a deep, clear lavender blue with a distinct orange slash on each fall. There's a white form listed Iris verna alba,  which I have never seen,  and also references to Iris verna var smalliana which is named for John Kunkel Small (1869-1938).   He was a taxonomist and botanical explorer specializing in flora of the Southeastern United States, especially Florida. John Kunkel Small was the first Curator of Museums at The New York Botanic Garden , a post in which he served from 1898 until 1906. He seems like a rather interesting chap,  and you can read more about him at:
http://www.nybg.org/bsci/libr/Small.htm

The deer population seems to ignore Iris verna,  but I'll watch it for another year or two before proclaiming it 100% deerproof.
               
Propagation is easy by division.  I'd love to grow it from seed,  but either some critter is running off with the seeds or the plants are just not setting any.  I'll try to be more diligent this coming Spring and do some hand pollination and seed collection.

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom -
Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom -
Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - 
Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division -
Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
Subclass - Liliidae
Order - Liliales
Family - Iridaceae
Series - vernae
Genus - Iris
Species - verna
Common name - genus -  "Iris"
Common name - species - "Dwarf Iris",  "Spring Iris"
Synonyms - None that I have found
Native range - See - http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/plant_profile.cgi?symbol=IRVE
USDA Hardiness Zone - 5, maybe 4
Light preference -  Dappled sun,  open bright shade
Soil fertility preference -    Average to rich
Soil pH preference - Slightly acidic to neutral
Soil moisture preference - Average to moist,  not wet
Bloom time -  Mid Spring
Bloom color -  Deep clear lavender blue with a distinct orange slash on each fall
Foliage -  Dark green
Spread -  6" - 10",  slow clumper
Height - 3" - 6"
Deer palatability - Seems deerproof
Landscape uses -  Front of the shade border,  wild or native plant garden,  rock garden,  trough garden
Related species -  Sole member of Series vernae
Medicinal uses -  None that I have found

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
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Last modified February 24, 2009
URL: http://www.sunfarm.com/picks/irisverna-124737.phtml