Fl. Ludov., 20. 1817.
Rhizomes freely branching, producing extensive clumps, 1–2.5 cm diam. Stems declining or semi erect, sharply zigzag, with short branch at each of 2–3 bends, leaf at every bend, flower bud at every bend, solid, 2.5–3 dm. Leaves: basal erect, spreading, or prostrate, blade deep green, ensiform, 3.5–7 dm × 1.5–3.5 cm, somewhat glaucous; cauline at each of 2–3 nodes, subtending and exceeding short branch and flower, blade 2–6 dm. Inflorescences with terminal unit 2-flowered, each short branch unit 1-flowered; spathes foliaceous, lanceolate, 3–5 cm, subequal, apex acute; outer green, exceeding inner; inner partly scarious. Flowers: perianth rich blue or blue-violet; floral-tube funnelform, 1–2 cm; sepals ovate, 7.5–9 × 2.5–3 cm, base abruptly attenuate, claw light greenish yellow with darker veins, with prominent yellow midrib and large, yellow-white signal at union of limb and claw; petals erect or spreading-erect, lighter blue than sepals, oblanceolate, 5–6.5 × 1.5–2 cm; ovary prominently 6-angled, 1–1.3 cm; style greenish, 3.5–4 cm, crests reflexed, semiovoid to subquadrate, 1.2–1.5 cm, margins irregularly toothed or entire; stigmas 2-lobed, lobes rounded-deltoid; pedicel 1–1.3 cm. Capsules hexagonal to almost circular in cross-section with 6 equally placed ribs, with short beak at apex, 3–5 × 2–2.5 cm. Seeds in 2 rows per locule, light-brown, irregularly circular, flattened, 3–5 mm, very corky. 2n = 42, 44.
Phenology: Flowering Apr–Jun.
Habitat: Open, rather moist woodlands
Ont., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ill., Ind., Kans., Ky., La., Miss., Mo., Okla., Tenn.
Iris brevicaulis hybridizes with I. fulva to produce I. ×fulvala Dykes, and with I. giganticaerulea to produce I. ×flexicaulis Small.
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