What is the African iris?


Quick Answer

The African iris, also called butterfly iris or fortnight lily, is a group of six plant species in the genus Dietes. They were reclassified from Moraea because they spread by rhizomes. Five Dietes species are native to tropical Africa and one is from Lord Howe Island, Australia.

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What is the African iris?
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Full Answer

The African iris is a perennial evergreen in zones 8 to 10, but they can be killed by severe freezes in upper zone 8. The leaves are straight and spiky. The flowers are 1 to 3 inches across and vary in color and appearance. The flower stalks are also perennial, so they should not be cut off after blooming. They prefer full sun but tolerate dappled shade. African irises are not salt tolerant.

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