Dwarf Iris

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Dwarf iris or dwarf violet iris (Iris verna) is a bit of an outlier among our more familiar iris species and cultivars. It doesn’t have the size of most of the landscape irises, and it doesn’t show up in ditches or wetlands as do many of the natives. In flower, dwarf iris gets no larger than about 6 inches in height, although the grass-like foliage can reach 12 inches after flowering. In the Croatan National Forest, dwarf iris is frequently seen under the canopies of longleaf pines (Pinus palustris), especially on pine ridges where the vegetation is carefully managed with periodic burns. Not the easiest iris to grow in your home landscape, but certainly worth looking for if you visit the Croatan in April.

Iris verna in Croatan National Forest

Iris verna, seen in Croatan National Forest on April 19, 2017