Although the primary focus of the Dwarf Iris Society is miniature dwarf bearded (MDB) irises, we also encourage interest in all types of small irises.
Many different irises could be considered dwarf, depending on the definitions used. For present purposes, "dwarf beardless iris" refers to any iris under 16 inches in height, excluding the dwarf bearded irises (section Iris of subgenus Iris), and arilbred dwarfs, which have their own definiition. Note that reticulata irises have their own page on this site.
Some notable types of dwarf beardless irises include:
Psammirises, falcifolias, and pseudoregelias. These have been at various times in various ways associated with dwarf bearded irises and with aril irises, particularly Regelias. Modern research places them in a separate grouping, closely related to bearded irises, oncocyclus, and Regelias, but separate from them. The psammiris Iris humilis (formerly known as I. arenaria and I. flavissima) was popular with dwarf enthusiasts and hybridizers in the early and middle decades of the 20th century. A brief discussion of the history and classification of these groups is available here. Although these irises do have beards, the term "bearded irises" refers to only section Iris, and does not include them or the arils, which also have beards.
Crested Irises. This diverse group includes many irises in the dwarf height range. Their notable feature is a feathery crest on the falls, where bearded irises have beards. The Chinese species I. tectorum is a wothy low-growing garden plant, and the American I. cristata is to be found growing wild in the eastern parts of North America.
10-inch Siberian Iris
(formerly Iris henryi)
photo: Mark McDonough
photo: Ken Walker
photo: Sean Zera
photo: Tom Waters
photo: Ken Walker