Iris Basics: Iris Color Classes and Patterns
Irises have specific color classes and patterns. You’ll see them referred to in the following terms. For more in-depth information on iris colors and patterns, see the excellent article “What Do You See?” from the Fall, 2015 issue of Roots. (PDF download)
Self: as its name suggests, these irises have standards and falls of the same color.
Examples of selfs:
Bicolor: A bicolor iris has standards of a different color than the falls.
Examples of bicolors:
Amoena (ah-MEE-nah): An amoena is a type of bicolor iris in which the standards are white and the falls are a different color. One of the most famous historic amoenas is ‘Wabash’ (Williamson, 1938). Amoenas come in a variety of colors. An iris with colored standards and white falls is called a reverse amoena.
Examples of amoenas:
Bitone: a bitone iris has standards and falls of the same color, but the standards are lighter than the falls. An iris with darker standards and lighter falls is called a reverse bitone.
Examples of bitones:
Neglecta: a neglecta is a specific color of bitone, in which the standards are light blue/purple, and the falls are a dark blue/purple. A reverse neglecta has dark standards and light falls.
Examples of neglectas:
Blend: this color pattern has two or more colors blended into the standards and falls. Many Japanese irises exhibit this color pattern.
Examples of blends:
Variegata: this is a specific color pattern: the standards are yellow or gold and the falls are red, maroon, or brown. The falls may be heavily veined or solid in color.
Examples of variegatas:
Plicata: the falls have darker edging in a stippled or dotted pattern, on a lighter ground. The pattern is sometimes called “stitching”. The standards may also have an edging. Plicatas come in all colors of irises.
Examples of plicatas:
Luminata: These irises have a white or yellow ground with color washed over it. They appear to glow from within. The veining of the standards and falls has no pigment.
Examples of luminatas:
Broken Color: a pattern in which color appears to be splashed or streaked on the petals in an irregular pattern.
Examples of broken color irises: