History of the Louisiana Iris

Like pioneer Acadians 
Not knowing where to go, 
The iris drifted southward 
A long, long time ago. 
Pushed onward by the glaciers 
And helped along by floods 
It reached the land of bayous 
And Mississippi muds.

The following material is reprinted from various old publications that I sometimes find more interesting to read than the new ones. So many of these bulletins and catalogs are not available even in files of members or in libraries. Early bulletins of the Society for Louisiana Irises were mimeographed and sent out only to members, along with a letter from the president or the secretary. Few people saved them. When space permits, other interesting historical material will be published in our Newsletters.

From Abbeville, Louisiana to New Zealand: I. nelsonii thriving in the New Zealand garden of Stephanie Boot

How the louisiana iris emerged from the swamps into the garden and evolved into the beautiful garden hybrids of today. 

Caroline Dormon, a naturalist and a charter member of the Society for Louisiana IrisesJohn James Audubon was the first to call a Louisiana iris by that name. With the Parula Warbler, he painted a rose-colored iris, and in his notes designated it Louisiana iris. 
While visiting Mrs. A. F. Storm in Morgan City, in 1920, I saw these fabulous flowers for the first time. There were masses of them in ditches just outside the city. There was little rust-red I.fulva, and a tall species with very large flowers in every shade of lavender-blue, and even rich violet. My excitement knew no bounds, and I at once consulted the botanies. I found I. fulva for it had been described and named way back in 1812. But nowhere was there a description to fit the giant blue. Later, Dr. J. K. Small named it Iris giganticaerulea