There are some 300 species in the genus Iris. The most familiar irises are the tall bearded irises (Iris germanica) that reach 2 to 3 feet in height.
These distinctive, six-petaled flowers have three outer hanging petals (called “falls”) and three inner upright petals (called “standards”).
Irises may be bearded or crested (aka “beardless”). Bearded iris are so-called because they have soft hairs along the center of the falls. In crested iris, the hairs form a comb or ridge instead.
Most irises flower in early summer. Some—mostly bearded hybrids—are remontant, meaning they flower again later in the summer.
Irises attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and make lovely cut flowers.