MBG Home Horticulture MBG Search
Home Page
Kemper Blog
Plants of Merit
Master Search
PlantFinder Search
Search PlantFinder Names

Iris fulva

(2 ratings) --- Rate this plant / Read comments

Kemper Code:  C437

Common Name: copper iris
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Central United States
Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: May - June  
Bloom Color: Copper
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Locate this plant at MBG

Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

View our source(s)

High resolution image available.
  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Best grown in fertile, slightly acidic, consistently moist to wet soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade, particularly in the southern part of its growing range. Does well in wet clayey soils. May be grown in up to 6 of standing water. Grow in containers in water gardens. May benefit from winter protection in USDA Zone 5.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Iris fulva is commonly called copper iris because of the unusual copper color (fulva is from Latin meaning tawny) of its flowers. It is a beardless, crestless iris (Louisiana Iris group) that is native to swamps and wetlands of the deep South and of the lower Mississippi Valley from Louisiana north to southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. In Missouri, it is primarily found in bald cypress swamps, sloughs, ponds, ditches and swampy woodland areas in the southeastern corner of the State (Steyermark). It is often found growing and blooming in standing water in spring-flooded areas that typically dry up as the summer progresses. Terra cotta or copper colored irises appear in late spring atop flower scapes typically growing 2-3 tall. Flowers are reportedly pollinated by hummingbirds. Sword-shaped, linear, bright green leaves. In New Orleans in March of 1821, John James Audubon painted a pair of parula warblers perching on the stem of a copper iris in a painting that became an entry in The Birds of North America.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to Iris fulva mosaic potyvirus.


Water gardens, bog gardens, pond or stream margins, or moist low spots. May also be grown in borders with consistent moisture.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

More photos:
  High resolution image available.