Vernal Iris, Crested Iris – Identification

Q: I am trying to find the correct name for the tiny wild iris that grow in the north Georgia mountains. Can you help?

A: You are seeing vernal iris, Iris verna. There is another dwarf iris you may see: crested iris, Iris cristata.

They differ in that vernal iris has a flat sepal (lower flower petal) while crested iris has a raised crest in the center.

Both grow in mature hardwood forests in the Southeast.

I saw many clumps of vernal iris in early April along the trail to Len Foote Hike Inn, above Amicalola Falls.

Vernal iris

Crested iris

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