Iris Terminology Key
Here we define the terms we use in our catalog to describe the Iris we grow and sell. These terms are used generally across the Iris world when speaking of the various qualities of Bearded and Beardless Iris. Click on the term to see an example of such an Iris from our catalog, or on a diagram of a Tall Bearded Iris. (Click the "Back" button on your browser window to come back to this Terminology List.)
For an illustrated post on the terminology used to describe the color pattern of Bearded Iris cultivars, read the World of Irises blog post: Tall Bearded Iris Color Terms
Amoena: White/tinted white standards, colored falls.
Beard: Fuzzy hairs at top of falls. (Notice the bright orange beard in the example of "Witch's Wand".)
Bicolor: Light or medium standards and deeper contrasting falls.
Bitone: Two tones of the same color.
Blend: combination of two or more colors (one is always yellow).
Broken Color: Random splashes of color.
Falls: The lower three petals of the flower.
Flounce: Appendage extending from end of beard.
Ground Color: Usually mentioned with plicatas; base color under dots or peppering.
Haft: Top part of falls to either side of beards.
Horns: Points rising from ends of beards.
Lace: Edges of petals are serrated.
Luminata: Style arms & hats of white or yellow; veining on falls.
Neglecta: Blue or violet bitone.
Plicata: Stitched or stippled margin color on white.
Rebloom: Iris blooms at any other time than normal spring bloom.
Reverse Amoena: Colored standards and lighter (sometimes white) falls.
Reverse Bitone: Standards are darker shade of fall color.
Rim: Thinner edge of color around falls or standards.
Ruffles: Flower edges are fluted or wavy.
Self: An Iris of a single, uniform color.
Shoulder: Same as haft.
Signal: A patch of color at the top center of the falls, emanating from the throat.
Spoons: Appendages at the ends of beards looking like small spoons. (The link for "Spoons" will take you to the American Iris Society Encyclopedia entry for Snow Spoon.)
Standards: The upper three petals of the flower.
Style Arms: Small segments inside heart of flower, above the beards.
Substance: The thickness of the petals.
Texture: Sheen or finish of the petals.
Variegata: Yellow or near yellow standards with deeper falls which may be either varied or solid in tone of brown or purple.