Iris meaning

Uncover Hidden Flowers meanings

Out of all the different types of flowers, it’s the iris that has a number of meanings associated with it. 

As the fleur-de-lis, it’s the stylized motif of France.  It was used everywhere especially for the royalty.  It was engraved or craved on walls, furniture and it was even sewn on the monarch’s clothes.  At one time, the iris was named after Louis VI as the fleur de Louis.

In Christian lore, it’s the leaves of the iris that gave it its meaning.  The leaves stood for faith, wisdom and valor.  The three petals are also representative of the Holy Trinity.  For other countries in the world like India and Egypt, they saw the iris as a symbol of life and resurrection from death – both spiritually and physically.

  • Name:  Iris
  • Color:  Iris just like their namesake is related to the rainbow.  This means that it has a wide variety of color like white, yellow, orange, pink, red, brown, purple and violet.  Sometimes the shade of violet for certain iris flowers is so dark, the flower looks black.
  • Shape:  Made up of three standard petals and three sepals, the iris looks like a spear that’s raised up.  Of all the flowers, it’s the iris that has somewhat of an unpredictable shape.  The petals are upright and the sepals are bent down.
  • Fact:  The iris flower is considered to be one of the “showiest” blossoms, one because of its spectrum of colors and two because of its unique and mostly weird shape.
  • Poisonous:  The iris is a poisonous plant with all of its parts having some level of toxicity.
  • Number of Petals:  Looking at the iris, you’d be inclined to think that it has six petals.  Actually, it only has three petals.  What looks like petals bent down are really the flower’s sepals.
  • Victorian Interpretation:  In the Victorian times, the iris flower symblizes that the friendship you have with someone means so much to you.  It also stands for faith, hope, wisdom and also valor.  It’s also a flower you send to someone when you want to send your compliments.
  • Blossom Time:  Depending on the species of the iris, it’s going to bloom earlier in the year or later in the year.  With regard to iris flower specie like the I. junonia as well as the I. reichenbachii, they start to bloom flowers in February through March.  Other species of iris follow suit in the following months.


One of the superstitious beliefs that are associated with the iris is if you bite on the iris root, you would stammer for the rest of your life.  Another superstition comes from Greece where if women passed away in one’s family, the men would plant the iris on their graves.  This works as a tribute to the goddess Iris - so that she would guide the women’s souls to the Elysian Fields. 

  • The Shape:  The iris is a uniquely shaped flower.  Generally, its petals stick up while its sepals droops down.  It can have many different shapes depending on how it grows.
  • Petals:  The three petals of the iris stand for the Holy Trinity and values like faith, wisdom and valor.
  • Numerology:  The iris is number 1 in numerology which means leadership.
  • Color:  Think of the rainbow and any color that you see there can be the color of the iris.  But keep in mind that its different colors may also mean different things.

Herbalism and Medicine:  

Used mostly as potpourri, the iris can also treat cough, asthma.  It also works on wounds, acne and dandruff. Its flower juice is also believed to take away freckles from the skin.

By Florance Saul
Aug 20, 2012