Information on Yellow Iris

Common Name: Yellow Iris
Scientific Name: Iris pseudacorus
Irish Name: Feileastram
Family Group: Iridaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Yellow Iris is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Along damp ditches and riverbanks, in marshes and bogs, around lakes and ponds, this handsome plant shows its large, bright yellow flowers from June to August.  The large blooms (8-10cm) are unmistakeable.  In clusters of twos and threes, each flower has three erect standard petals below which there are three petals which curve downwards.  The lower petals are beautifully marked with purple veins leading into the mouth. The sword-shaped tall leaves have prominent ribs and rise from the base.  In autumn the seedpods are large, three-segmented capsules which contain numerous seeds.  This is a native plant belonging to the family Iridaceae.

I first identified this plant in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Gibletstown, Co Wexford in 1995.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Iris, Yellow
Iris, Yellow

Also known as Flag, this plant features in much of our folklore:

From Broadway, Co Wexford : 'A little bunch of flags (wild irises) was made on Corpus Christi and placed outside every door.'  * 

From Derrynane, Co Kerry:  'Flag root cures sore lips'.  ** 

From Killarney, Co Kerry: 'The cure for rheumatism was to heat Flag and to put them into a hut.  Then they threw water on the flags, and vapour used to rise out of them.  Then the people who had rheumatism jumped into the vapour.  They stayed in the hut for a few minutes, and then they went into a tub of cold water.  This cured the people who had rheumatism.'  ***

From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. *NFC 96:310.  **NFC S 468:266.  ***NFC S 454:18.