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Iris douglasiana

About Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) The Douglas Iris is a common and attractive wildflower of the coastal regions of Northern and Central California and southern Oregon, with scattered locations inland. The Douglas Iris grows mainly at lower elevations, below 100 meters (330 feet), though it is occasionally found at heights of up to 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). It is most common in grasslands near the coast; it is regarded as a noxious weed in pastures, because it forms clumps that inhibit other vegetation, and its leaves are bitter and unpalatable to cattle.

Douglas Iris prefers part or full shade and richer soils and is fast growing near the coast. If not planted next to a creek or in a naturally wet area, it likes summer water every 2-4 weeks. It is more drought tolerant near the coast where it benefits from cooler temperatures and fog. The flowers can be highly variable in color, and there are many cultivars available.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
0.6 - 2.6 ft (0.18 - 0.8 m)

Max. Width
2 - 4 ft (0.6 - 1.2 m)



Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Flower Color
Blue, Pink, Purple, White, Yellow

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Grassy places, meadows, coastal prairie and in the understory of evergreen forest from Del Norte County to Santa Barbara County and scattered inland locations

Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade

Elevation ?
7' - 5017'

Annual Precip. ?
15.8" - 119.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.21" - 3.51"

Coldest Month ?
37.6° F - 51.0° F

Hottest Month ?
57.9° F - 74.6° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 21.20 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers heavy soils with organic matter

Soil Texture
Clay Loam, Silt Clay Loam

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Sunset Zones ?
4*, 5*, 6*, 7, 8, 9, 14*, 15, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24

Companion Plants
Use with other plants that prefer rich, heavy soils and more moisture such as rushes (Juncus species), spikerush (Eleocharis species), Sedges (Carex species), Red Columbine (Aquilegia formosa), lilies, California Grape (Vitis californica), Wild Rose (Rosa californica), ferns, and trees such as Sycamore (Platanus racemosa), Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum), or willows (Salix species).

Wildlife Attracted

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Can be deadheaded

Propagation ?
Will self-sow and will hybridize if you have more than one variety. Readily forms large clumps. To propagate a selected variety, divide clump after blooming is finished.  For propagating by seed: No treatment. Sow in early fall outdoors.

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Douglas' Iris

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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