Irises are usually perennial, growing from bulbs, corms, or rhizomes. The leaves grow in two ranks from the base of the plant or sometimes from the stem; with the edges of the leaves set against the stem. The leaves have parallel veins and are long and straight. The flowers are very showy and are usually colored, with petal-like sepals and petals attaching above the ovary (i.e., the ovary is inferior). Beneath the sepals are one or two bracts forming a partially enclosing spathe. The flowers have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts, with 3 stamens growing opposite the sepals. The anthers bend outwards. There is a single style that usually consists of 3 parts. The fruit is a capsule that splits apart when dry to release the seeds.
This Family’s Genera in New England:
Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key