Tennessee State Flower- The Purple Iris
Tennessee State Flower
about the iris flower
In 1933, the Tennessee legislature designated the iris as the state flower. Even though they did not name a particular color, the purple iris is considered to be the state flower.
Iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow referring to the wide variety of flower colors from its many species. Iris is also the scientific name. Iris is a genus of 250 species of flowering plants that have showy flowers. A common name for some species is “flags” but “iris” is also a common name for all species of iris.
Iris comes in every color of the spectrum except true red. The blooms can measure up to 6 inches across and are on sturdy stems. The iris can take the summertime drought which makes them easy to grow in many arid climates. They are hardy from Nebraska to Mississippi and Arizona.
Not only are they able to flourish in varied habitats across the United States, they are found in the grassy slopes, the meadow-lands, and the riverbanks of Europe, The Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia, and most other parts of the world. Up to 300 species ---many that are natural hybrids---have now been placed in the genus iris.
The King of France selected bearded iris (iris germanica) as their emblem. These irises have a classical and stately beauty. The bearded iris has three sepals called “standard” which are upright petals and three “falls” which are the pendulous ones that have a spreading or downward droop. Bearded Iris refers to the bristly hairs that emerge from the throat of the flowers. They have a sweet perfume scent.
The Fleur-de-lis is the emblem for New Orleans.
Many of the irises will re-bloom. They are sun-hardy perennials that produce a succession of blooms above bold sword shaped leaves that grow 8-10 inches tall. The iris multiply each year and need to be thinned every couple of years. When they are thinned and replanted, it will be two years before they will bloom again.
Through its rich history, the different colors have different meanings in different parts of the world. Blue is the most popular color of the iris. The iris flower in general symbolizes eloquence. In some parts of the world, dark blue or purple iris can be a symbol of royalty. The purple iris is symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Blue iris symbolizes faith and hope. Yellow iris symbolizes passion. White iris is a symbol of purity and other colors of iris may express courage and admiration.
Because the many meanings of the iris, it is a great choice for a variety of gift giving occasions like corporate, sympathy, get well , birthday, and friendships.