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Products > Dietes flavida
 
Dietes flavida - Wood Iris
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Iridaceae (Irises)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Cream
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Dietes flavida (Wood Iris) - An evergreen rhizomatous perennial to 3 to 4 feet tall that produces an open clump of flat fans of long, narrow and very erect, bluish-green leaves. Not as tall flowering or floriferous as Dietes grandiflora but produces flowers at regular intervals from spring through summer on an inflorescence that rises to nearly the height of the leaf tips. The The individual flowers are an attractive cream to pale yellow color with darker yellow and brown markings and though last less than a full day, are followed sequentially by other flowers in the inflorescence the following days. After flowering appear the attractive pendulous green cylindrical seed pods that have smooth side. These drooping, smooth seed capsules, yellow flowers and gray-green leaves makes it easy to distinguish from the more common Dietes grandiflora. Plant in full to part sun or light shade. It is particularly drought tolerant in shade but looks it best and blooms more when grown in at least part day sun with occasional irrigation. This species is not widely grown so frost tolerance is not well documented but it is listed as frost hardy by gardeners in South Africa and proven hardy to at least 25 F after going through the January 2007 freeze in our garden without damage when we experienced three successive nighttime temperatures of 25 F. This is a nice garden accent plant, particularly for its attractive long gray-green leaves that are held in broad erect fans that do not grow into a dense clump. Dietes flavida grows naturally in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape of South Africa north into Swaziland and Mozambique where it is found along forest margins and rocky ridges. The name for the genus is from the Greek words 'di' meaning "twice" or "dual" and 'etes' meaning "affinities" because of this plants close relationship to the genus Moraea and the Iris of the Northern Hemisphere. The Dietes were once included with the Moraea, which grow from a corm, but were split off into their own genus because they are rhizomatous plants. Although this genus was described in the 19th century, these plants are often still mistakenly called Moraea. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word 'flavus' meaning "yellow" in reference to the flower color. Our thanks go out to John Bleck for introducing us to this uncommon Dietes.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Dietes flavida.