Iris tenuis

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USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF

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Iris tenuis

Clackamas Iris is a rare endemic to only three counties in northern Oregon. Though it appears in scale with Pacific Coast Iris, it is not related and is more closely aligned with bearded Iris. Pale green 15mm wide leaves first emerge vertically before settling to a more horizontal position. Light lavender buds unfurl to white with yellow on the falls in May-July. In its native range this smaller iris is everywhere which  begs the question; Why isn’t its natural range larger? Not bothered by deer or pests this is a supremely climate adapted perennial. To 12″ tall in bloom the arching leaves equal that and spreads out. Light consistent summer water to establish, then only what falls from the sky. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. In habitat it is an understory component with Sword Ferns and shrubs such as Hazel, Oso Berry, and Viburnum. Provide deep rich soil and room to spread. This Iris makes very large colonies quickly- to 3′ wide.  The broad leaves are winter deciduous. Wonderful Iris for gardens and wild areas.  Oregon native plant.

photo: Dii Mazuz

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