Yellow Flag Irises
The Yellow Flag Iris grows wild in the Western Isles. In both the Isle of Harris and the Isle of Lewis you will see it. It grows in lots of places.
A plant of damp places, from lake and river margins to wet woodland and marshes.
Yellow Irises grow nearby rivers and streams and also in wet meadow areas. The great swathes of yellow irises in the early summer months are so pretty!
Bees and Caterpillars
Bees use the flowers, the leaves Provide food for Dragonfly Larvae. The leaves also the leaves provide caterpillars food.
Flower provides Food for Bees
The bees use the flower as food. The plant has little attraction for butterflies but it has a sweet smell which attracts bees and hoverflies.
Leaves - Food Plants for Dragonfly Larvae
The leaves are also the food plant of dragonfly larvae. The leaves also provide food for some moth caterpillars, such as the Belted Beauty and Water Ermine.
The yellow flag iris plant is 4-6 ft. in height. Yellow flag flowers late May or June in The Western Isles.
The flowers are 3-4ins across - it has 3 sepals that are backward curving and non bearded. The leaves are long and narrow, pointed and are light green
The Yellow Flag Iris used in The Harris Tweed Industry
A yellow die can be attained from the flowers, a black dye from the roots (mixed with sulphate of iron), the black dye is called 'Sabbath Black' and is used in ink.
A bright green dye can be obtained from the leaves - all these colours were used in the Harris tweed industry in The Western Isles, Scotland.
Sometimes called - Segg - or Jacob's Sword
This lovely wildflower is sometimes called 'segg'. Segg gets its name from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'short sword', and refers to the shape of the leave.
The wild iris or flag iris probably came about when the 5th century king of Franks, Clovis, used it as a heraldic symbol on his battle flag.
Greek Goddess - Iris
Also named after a Greek Goddess 'Iris', the goddess of the rainbow. She is reputed to have used a rainbow to move between heaven and earth.
Fluttering Like a Flag
The fluttering of the flowers was thought to resemble flags blowing in the breeze - that's why its called 'yellow flag'.
Middle Ages Customs
In the Middle Ages, the leaves were used to repair thatched roofs. Irises used to be hung over doors to ward off evil spirits
The root juice is used to treat sores. A piece of rhizome can be placed on an aching tooth to ease the pain
According to legend, the first person to wear the iris as a heraldic device was Clovis, who became king of the Franks in the late 5th century.
He drove the Romans out of northern Gaul, converted to Christianity, and changed the three toads on his banner for three yellow irises.
Six centuries later, the iris was adopted by Louis VII in the fleur-de-lys which he wore in his crusade against the Saracens—‘lys’ is a corruption of ‘Louis’.
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|