Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata)

Dwarf Crested Iris Identification:
A diminutive plant just six inches tall, this woodland beauty blooms in April on shady hillsides. The leaves are short, broad and straplike, bending over near the tips. The flowering stem is sheathed by the over-lapping leaves which grow finally to about a foot high. The stubby rhizomes are connected by slender runners.
The sepals, sometimes called “the falls”, are bluish to

lavender with a conspicuous splotch of orange and white at the base (the crest). The smaller petals (the standards) are uniformly bluish to lavender. There is a rare white form which is highly prized by gardeners.

Family: Iridaceae (Iris family)

Other Names: Iris, Flag Lily, Liver Lily, Water Flag, Snake Lily

Flowers: April – May

Parts Used: Root

Habitat: Wet woods. Maryland to North Carolina; Mississippi, Arkansas, East Oklahoma to Indiana.

Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Cathartic, Diuretic, Sialagogue. Main Uses:
American Indians poulticed the root on swellings, sores, bruises, rheumatism; analgesic agent; internally root tea used as strong laxative, emetic, and to stimulate bile flow. Physicians formerly used the root of this plant in small, frequent doses to “cleanse” blood and stimulate the bowels, kidney, and liver. Homeopathically used for migraines and as a cathartic, diuretic, and emetic.

Preparation And Dosages:
Infusion: 1 teaspoon of the powdered root to 1 pint of boiling water, drink cold, 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls six times a day.
Tincture: 10 to 25 drops in water three times a day.

CAUTION: Do not use in large quantities.

Dwarf Crested Iris is easy to grow. The primary requirement is well-drained soil and partial shade. Plants should be divided in early fall when leaves begin to yellow. To divide, remove the runners from a fan and lift the rhizome from the soil, making sure the stringy roots are attached. Replant at same level about six inches apart, and water well.

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