Western Blue Flag, Rocky Mountain Iris
|30 - 80 cm
|In its natural habitat increased grazing and trampling by livestock sees an increase in its spread and vigour.
|It occurs in moist meadows and edges of streams that are typically wet in the spring but then dry towards summer.
|Pale blue-green leaves are 10 - 40 cm long and 2 - 5 cm wide, originating from the base and folded along their length. The previous years leaves persist on the plant.
|Flowers 2 - 4 per stem, pale blue to blue-violet, each with 9 petal-like segments forming 3 sepals, 3 petals and 3 enlarged styles. Purple veins radiate from a bearded yellow spot on each of the sepals, which are spreading, recurved and are 4 -6 cm long. A white-flowered form exists that that has little or no veining
|The seed capsule is 2 -5 cm long and at maturity splits along three sides to release dark brown seeds.
|Division of rhizomes is the easiest.
|Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
|It has been used by aboriginal people for its medicinal properties. Uses have included adding dried rootstock to a smoking mixture to induce nausea or chewed raw to relieve toothaches. It may also have anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. The seed can be roasted as a coffee substitute.