Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dwarf Iris

The burning of the Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) tract continues to pay benefits and produce surprises [entry1, entry2]. While taking the quarterly images of the tract near the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, we spied a tiny splotch of color in the tufts of Wiregrass (Aristida stricta). Focusing our attention closer to the ground, we realized that the purple flowers were all about. We had found the Dwarf Iris (Iris verna) that was likely laying dormant until conditions were improved by the recent burning.

Dwarf Iris is a perennial herb rising from a densely scaly rhizome and flowering in late March to early April. As you can see from the image with the coin, the stem is less than 6" tall. The plant can be found from Pennsylvania and Ohio south to northwestern Florida and west to Mississippi. In South Carolina, the plant is found mainly in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain in dry pinelands, swamp edges, and edges of pocosins.

Images by Mark Musselman

No comments: