Monday, March 25, 2013

The Korean Iris by Jim Murrain


    Of course it's not the only Iris species native to the Korean peninsula but it is the only Iris named for Korea. Iris koreana is a bright little thing. If you are looking for a small Iris that is not too small, and not too large, Iris koreana is just right. The leaves are wide enough that it won't be mistaken for grass but narrow enough to be in perfect proportion to the stalk and flowers. It also remains semi-evergreen so you needn't fret about finding it come spring.


    A clean bright yellow with no brassy tones it shines in the garden. In a lightly shaded bed or maybe morning sun and afternoon shade it will reliably perform its dance. At about seven inches in flower it remains dainty but the strong color of the flowers make sure you will notice it when in bloom. In Kansas City it flowers with the MDBs, Miniature Dwarf Bearded irises.


    Iris koreana is a recent introduction to North America. Darrell Probst first collected it in 1997 on the South Korean shore of the East China Sea. It is related to the tiny Iris minutoaurea which flowers at only three inches but shares its big sisters bright color. Although equally easy to grow it is also easy to lose in the garden because it is so tiny.


    Joe Pye Weed's Garden has introduced a vigorous and free flowering form of Iris koreana named 'Firefly Shuffle'. With heavy bloom and consistent increase you will soon be able to share this "just right" iris with your friends. 

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