Michigander Blues.

Last week the University of Michigan football team lost dramatically to their arch rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes. I will not be singing their blues since I am a Buckeye fan but I will be looking at their very blue state wildflower – the Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris).

While a diminutive cousin to the much taller Louisiana Giant Blue Iris and a distant relative of the showy bearded irises, the “dwarf” makes up for its Lilliputian stature with a pure cyanic blue petal holding a golden jewel at its center.

Image result for dwarf lake iris
Tiny by comparison – brilliant in composure.

 Dwarf lake iris is a miniature iris with showy, deep blue flowers. The flowers are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in width and 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in height and are born singly on stems less than 2 inches tall. Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide and are flattened, sword-like, and arranged in fan-shaped clusters. Although flowers are usually blue, lilac or white flowers are sometimes found. It is found only along the shores of lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior and has been on the endangered species list since 1988.

So Small – So Regal!
Each blossom is smaller than a quarter.

The Water Willow is a companion to our Michigan Wildflower. This one was found on the banks of the Ohio River in Kentucky.
The Crested Iris is a close cousin to the Dwarf Lake Iris. These were found along the Little River in the Smokies and bloom from mid-April through May.

After the iris has flowered, between late June to late July, it produces a roundly triangular, or ovoid, seed capsule, which are covered by the spathes. The capsules are 1.2 mm long and 8 mm wide. Inside the capsule, are 3 mm wide, dark brown seeds, which have a white appendage (or aril, fleshy thickening of seed coat), spiralled around the seed. This spiral or corkscrew-like appendage is called an eliaosome. The eliaosomes are used as energy-rich food sources by ants, who help pollinate the plant. Seeds as well as plants can not be collected and are protected by state and federal laws.

The Michigan Wolverines will need more than pure luck next year as they will have to travel to Columbus to tackle the Buckeyes.

Go Bucks!

The only place you can view the Dwarf Lake Iris is close to the shores of the upper Great Lakes. This virtual tour makes it easier to view rare wildflowers but what fun it would be to visit those northern shores in July when Iris lacustris begins blooming!

Lake Superior doesn’t look like a home to much of anything.
Yet in the quieter areas around the lake they are indeed present.

For our next cyber-journey, we stay north and visit Minnesota which adopted my number one favorite wildflower as its state emblem! Way to go Gophers!

2 thoughts on “Michigander Blues.

  1. Very interesting!


  2. So pretty!! I love the water willow also-would be neat to see one of those.


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