Douglas Iris–The Purple Ones


Looking for good ground cover for your garden or around your home? Cheryl Lisin of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association believes our native flower, the Douglas iris, could be a good choice. She writes,

Douglas iris is beautiful in the wild and also makes a great groundcover plant for the garden. It forms large patches of evergreen leaves in grassy areas and on forest edges. Once established, it needs no water except what the rain provides.  Each flower stalk has 2 to 3 purple flowers which look good in a vase where they will last a day or two. It ranges from Southern California to central Oregon, staying within several miles of the coast. Iris douglasiana is the scientific name and it is in the Iris family.

Come learn more about local native plants for the garden at a native plant workshop on Saturday, May 16th from 9 to 4 at the Shelter Code RID building, 9126 Shelter Cove Rd. [See more here.]




  • Mercy Me, Mabel!

    What a knock-out these are.

  • We have more white ones than purple ones in SoHum. I always thought that they were the same except for the color. Other than color what is the difference.

  • I can’t even take the big ugly irises at the nurseries. Can’t touch the wild ones for beauty. Much as I love gardening, I don’t think we can ever do a better job than our mother.

    • Guest (NOT the other one)

      In the 80s, I had the privilege of caring for and sometimes getting to spend time in an old but restored cabin out near Cold Creek (on the way out to Butler Valley) where Doug Irises grew intermingled with the native orange tiger lilies all around the verges of the cabin clearing. Don’t know if they’d been transplanted there by the early residents and naturalized or sprang up on their own. When the property was sold, I took a few shovelfuls to transplant to my backyard. Still growing!

  • Lavendar hued, or blanche du bois, these lovelies are the fairie’s umbrellas that protect them from a sudden shower or the sun’s beating rays. Thank you for sharing!


    Divide them and spread around your garden, a shovel works great and they’ll regrow from a tiny chunk in the right spot.

  • A thousand years ago, I spent nearly a week in SoHum/Trinity area to walk power easements with my ex for a bid on a clearing job. We saw these guys growing in a pasture near some oaks. They were only about two to three inches tall, and the blooms were about the same size as usual, but they were the most amazing lavender color. I was running all around, stopping at each, opening my eyes their widest, trying to soak each of them into my heart.

    I think it was off Alderpoint Road near Dobbyn Creek. Maybe they were so short because the cows graze there. They were very little and didn’t seem to grow into clumps, just individually and sprinkled along the rolling slope within, say, twenty yards of the oaks above the stream. Gorgeous.

    I’m a really good photographer, but I never carry a camera. Don’t even own one. And never even think on the moment that pictures would be good. I need to have one implanted in my eyeballs or memory banks….

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