There are many types of irises.
The first difference is that some are Bulbs and some are Rhizomes.
Bulbs usually go dormant( lose their leaves) for part of the year and the piece that lives in the ground is round and is made up of layers, like an onion.
Rhizomes are horizontal underground stems that strike new roots out of their nodes, down into the soil, and that shoot new stems out of their nodes, up to the surface. This rhizome activity represents a form of plant reproduction. Most iris in this group are evergreen but some go dormant, usually in late summer/autumn.
These are separated into three main groups
Beardless, Bearded and Crested. These differences refer to the way the plants attract bees.
With Beardless Irises there is usually a flash of colour, mostly yellow, at the top of the lower petals (falls) This is called a signal
Bearded Iris have a fuzzy caterpillar like area at the top of the falls . This may be one of many colours, eg blue, red, yellow etc. Occasionally this beard extends out into a pointed part called a horn.
Crested Iris form a much smaller group, but they have a small raised area called a crest instead of a signal or a beard.
IRIS SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA
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