Herbaceous perennials growing from rhizomes. Flowers grow near the top of stems. The 3 sepals are descriptively called “falls”; the 3 upright petals are the “standards.” Color varies from nearly white to deep violet, sometimes in a veined pattern. Blooms May-July. Leaves mostly basal, straplike, to over 2 feet long, folded along the midrib.
Similar species: Of the 10 irises that grow out of cultivation in our state, this is the most common of the 4 that are native to Missouri; the rest are escapes from cultivation.