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Iris domestica*

Iris domestica*

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*formerly known as Belamcanda chinensis

Blackberry Lilly or Leopard Lilly is a not a lily at all, but a member of the iris family. It has traditional flat, sword-like iris foliage, but the flat, rounded flowers are quite different. We love it for its golden-orange freckled petals. Once flowering is done, brownish seed capsules form; in fall, seed capsules explode revealing shiny black seed clusters. Seed clusters remain through winter.

Easy to grow in full sun in average garden soil. This plant does like moisture in summer, but too much moisture in winter can be fatal. Be sure to plant in a well-drained area.

Fun Fact: Thomas Jefferson planted this plant at Monticello in 1807 and documented it in his garden book, Notes on the State of Virginia. It was then known as Chinese Ixia.

Warning: May cause minor vomiting or stomach upset if ingested. Sap or juice may cause dermatitis.

Zones: 5 to 10

Family: Iridaceae

Type: Herbaceous Perennial

Height: 24 to 36 in.

Spread: 9 to 24 in.

Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Conditions: Average, moist but well-drained

Bloom Time: July to August

Native Range: eastern Russia, China and Japan

Image Credits:

  • Image 1 (bloom) I, Brighterorange, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Image 2 (fruits) Alpsdake, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Image 3 (foliage) Alpsdake, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
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