Iris tenax (Toughleaf Iris) SE

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Plant Description: A deciduous, low-growing iris with thin, grass-like leaves that are pinkish red at the base and light green above. It grows in compact clumps, spreading through underground rhizomes.

Flowers are showy and range in colors from pale purple to white and creamy yellow. They are excellent for bouquets. Flower stalks are usually shorter than the leaves.

  • Height: 4-18"
  • Width: 12-24"
  • Watering needs: regular
  • Sun needs: full sun to part shade
  • Soil needs: tolerates moist to dry soil
  • Bloom Time: April-July 
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: This native plant is found west of the Cascades in Oregon as well as a small range in Washington and Northern California. Grows in open forests and grassy meadows at low to mid elevations between 300-1600 ft. We recommend Toughleaf iris in food forests, meadowscapes, and conventional or ornamental gardens. Its primary use is to attract pollinators and bolster habitat. 

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