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Common Name: Rocky Mountain Iris
Iris missouriensis is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.75 metres tall.
It has edible, medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised[
]. An arrow poison was made from the ground-up roots[
Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people[
Western N. America - British Columbia to Mexico, east to South Dakota and Alberta.
Meadows and streamsides[
]. Also found in pinewoods[
]. Often found in apparently dry situations, but always where moisture is abundant until flowering time[
Requires a moist soil, growing well in a moist border, but intolerant of stagnant water[
]. Easily grown in a sunny position so long as the soil is wet in the spring[
A polymorphic species[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[
Rocky Mountain iris was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat various complaints, but especially as an external application for skin problems[
]. It was for a time an officinal American medicinal plant[
], but is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.
The root is emetic and odontalgic[
]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints, stomach aches etc[
]. The pulped root is placed in the tooth cavity or on the gum in order to bring relief from toothache[
]. A decoction of the root has been used as ear drops to treat earaches[
]. A poultice of the mashed roots has been applied to rheumatic joints and also used as a salve on venereal sores[
Caution is advised in the use of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity[
A paste of the ripe seeds has been used as a dressing on burns[
Yields a green dye[
] (part of plant used is not specified).
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.
Division, best done after flowering. Another report says that it is best done in spring or early autumn[
]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.