Iris Terms & Definitions

Amoena – white or near white standards with colored falls

Beard – fuzzy Hairs at top of falls

Branch – lateral extension from main bloom stalk that produces additional flowers

Bicolor – light or medium standards over deeper contrasting falls

Bitone – Standards and falls are two tones of the same color

Blend – Combination of two or more colors, blended or layered on the same petal

Bloom season – the time of the iris variety will bloom within each classification; a late season Standard dwarf bearded may bloom the same time as an early blooming tall beaded iris. An iris listed E-L will bloom over an extended period indicating a high stalk and/or bud count.

VE – very early, E – early, M – midseason, L – late, VL – very late

Broken Color – random splashes of color

Falls – the lower three flower petals

Fan – the leaf form of iris looks like a fan

Flare – falls with an outward horizontal curve

Flounce – appendage extending from end of beard

Form – the overall shape of the blossom

Haft – top part of fall petals on either side of beards

Increase – new fans forming at the base of the mother rhizome

Horns – points rising from the end of beards

Lace – edges of petals are serrated

Luminata – style arms and hafts are white or yellow with pale veining on falls

Midrib – the center thicker rib of the standards keeping them upright

Neglecta – blue or violet bitone

Plicata – stitched or stippled petal bands usually on white or yellow ground

Reverse Amoena – Colored standards over lighter, sometimes white, falls

Rhizome – thick fleshy bulb-like iris root from which the fan emirates

Rim – Thin edge of color around petals

Ruffles – petal edges are fluted or waved

Self – An iris of all one color

Signal – pointed dart of color in center of fall

Spath – leaf like covering over the bud or base of flower that covers the ovary

Spoons – appendages at end of beards that look like spoons

Spot – round color blot in center of fall

Stalk – the stem of the iris blossom

Stamen – small match-like protrusion just beneath style arm; the flower’s male reproductive part producing powdery pollen

Stigma – lip like growth near the end of the style arm; the flowers female reproductive part.

Standards – the upper three flower petals

Style Arms – small stiff segments in the heart of the blossom shielding the base of the standards and just above the center of the falls that hold the flowers reproductive organs

Substance – the thickness of the petals

Sunburst – ray pattern on falls emanating from beard or center of fall

Texture – surface sheen of petals; velvety, satin, smooth, diamond dusted(glistening)

Variegata – Yellow or near yellow standards over deeper falls on varied or solid tones of brown or purple

Zonal – irregular shaped color patch at the center of falls