Iris Terminology and Abbreviations

Iris terminology

In the catalog listings the name of the iris variety is shown first, then in brackets the hybridizer’s name and the year of introduction, followed by the written description of the variety, then height, time of bloom during season, awards received.

Iris component terms

Iris terminology, abbreviations and awards information used in our iris catalogue descriptive listings are explained as follows:

Iris component terms
  • Standards – the three upright petals on the flower
  • Falls – the three lower petals on the flower
  • Fan – the grouping of leaves growing from the rhizome
  • Beards – thick bushy area found in uppermost area of falls
  • Hafts – top part of the falls on either side of the beards
  • Increases – reproductive new growth found on the sides of the rhizome
  • Lace – serrations or frills on the outer edges of the petals
  • Rhizome – thick bulb like underground stem from which grow the leaves and the true roots
  • Stalk – stiff stem which holds up the flowers, may have branches also terminating in additional flowers
  • Signal – a spot pattern of a different color found on the falls just below the beard
  • Ruffles – pronounced waves in the petals
  • Substance – thickness of the petals
  • Texture – sheen or finish of the petals

Iris color pattern terms

  • Amoena – white standards and colored falls
  • Bicolor – standards and falls are different colors
  • Bitone – standards and falls different shades of same color
  • Neglecta – light blue standards and darker colored falls
  • Plicata – marked with stipples or dots on lighter background
  • Self – standards and falls are same color
  • Variegata – yellow standards with typically darker brownish purple red falls

Key to our catalog abbreviations

A combination of codes is used when an iris blooms over an extended period. examples EML, EM, ML etc.

  • H = Height in inches
  • S = Season of bloom time
  • E = Early bloom time
  • M = Midseason bloom time
  • L = Late bloom time
  • VL = Very Late bloomtime

Iris Awards

Iris awards are given annually by the American Iris Society to irises that are judged to be of exceptional qualities. (these will usually have the year of the award shown after them. examples DM90, AM86, etc.)

  • HM Honorable Mention
  • AM Award of Merit
  • DM Dykes Medal
  • WM Wister Medal