Herb: Japanese Water Iris


Latin name: Iris ensata


Synonyms: Iris kaempferi, Iris lactea


Family: Iridaceae (Iris Family)



Medicinal use of Japanese Water Iris:

The root is alterative, anthelmintic, antidote, appetizer, depurative, diuretic, hepatic and vermifuge. It is used with other herbs in the treatment of venereal affections, liver complaints and dropsy.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
May to
July

Habitat of the herb:

Dry sandy plains near lakes, meadows, clay-solonetz places in steppes and solonetz meadows. Marshes, ditches and wet grassy places.

Edible parts of Japanese Water Iris:

Root - the source of an edible starch. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre is obtained from the leaves, a substitute for hemp. It is used for rope and coarse cloth. Also used in thatching and basket making. The root is long and fibrous, it is used for making brooms, brushes etc.

Propagation of Japanese Water Iris:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March or October. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry sandy plains near lakes, meadows, clay-solonetz places in steppes and solonetz meadows. Marshes, ditches and wet grassy places.

Known hazards of Iris ensata:

Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised. The roots are especially likely to be toxic. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.