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Iris Family

Horticultural Irises

Many species and cultivars in the iris family are grown in gardens and greenhouses for their beautiful flowers. These plants are typically propagated by splitting their rhizomes, bulbs, or corms, and sometimes by seed.

Various species of iris are cultivated in gardens. These include the yellow-flowered water-flag (Iris pseudacorus) and blue-flowered species such as the true fleur-de-lis (I. germanica), the Siberian iris (I. sibirica), the stinking iris (I. foetidissima), and the butterfly iris (I. ochroleuca). Some cultivated species of iris have become naturalized in parts of North America and can be found in wild habitats and in old gardens near abandoned houses.

Many of the approximately 80 species of crocuses are grown in gardens. In places where there is a snowy winter, crocuses are often planted in lawns where they bloom very soon after the snow melts and air temperatures become mild. The most commonly cultivated species is the European spring crocus (Crocus verna).

Another commonly cultivated group is the gladiolus, including Gladiolus byzantinus from southwestern Asia and many horticultural hybrids. The tiger flower (Tigridia pavonia) is native to Mexico and is sometimes cultivated in temperate gardens.

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