This small iris is Iris pumila, an antique bearded iris and another of my rescue plants. It is one of several cultivated iris species that I collected from vacant lots and roadsides in the 1980’s. The Iris pumila plants were growing in an abandon lot with Iris “Sans Souci” on a rock outcrop in Duluth, Minnesota. I doubt that any iris are there today as that part of the city has undergone much change.
Today the descendants of the original plants are growing in my flower garden. Iris pumila appears to be a tame plant that does not spread much. It grows from rhizomes shallowly buried in the soil. The leaves short and the flowers are medium-sized, deep amethyst in color, blooming in early May. Iris pumila flowers are normally blue or violet but can also come in shades of yellow. There are many hybrid crosses between varieties of Iris pumila and other iris species resulting in many different color mixes, heights, and bloom periods.