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

Iris brevicaulis

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

Kemper Code:  K680

Common Name: zigzag iris
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Central United States
Height: 0.75 to 1 foot
Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: June   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Deep bluish purple with yellow-crested falls
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium

Locate this plant at MBG

Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

View our source(s)

  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:

Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Although a marsh plant in the wild, this species will do very well in the garden under somewhat normal growing conditions. Prefers a rich, humusy, slightly acidic soil.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Large, deep bluish purple flowers with yellow and white crests on the falls are borne on low-growing, sprawling stems which typically zig-zag to a height of no more than 5". Sometimes called short-stemmed iris. Long, strap-like, green leaves (10-20") will often hide the blooms. May not produce flowers every year. This Missouri native is most often found in the wild in damp grasslands, along streams, in sloughs, in woodland valleys, and in ravines at the base of wooded slopes. Spreads by rhizomes.


No serious pest or disease problems.


May be grown in a partially shaded area of the rock garden, perennial border, woodland garden or naturalized area. May also be grown along streams or ponds. Because the flowers are often hidden from sight, this iris may not deserve a prominent place in the garden. Good source for fresh cut flowers.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011