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Preservation of the Louisiana iris species and Restoration in the wild

The Greater New Orleans Iris Society is heavily invested in the future of the native irises found throughout most of Louisiana.  Louisiana is unique in the number of species, their proximity, and the tendency for "hybrid zones" to produce diverse natural forms.  Four of the five species in the Series Hexagonae (the taxonomic group that encapsulates the "Louisiana irises") occur in Louisiana.  They are I. fulva, I. giganticaerulea, I. brevicaulis, and I. nelsonii

While three of these species are native to other states as well, their concentration within the State of Louisiana creates an obvious local responsibility when they are threatened. The destruction of wetlands and threats to the environment of Louisiana irises is a story told elsewhere, but the response of GNOIS has been to create and support projects that follow two tracks.  One is efforts to Preserve the different forms of each species, and the other is to help Restore irises in the wild.


These projects overlap both logically and in practice, but they also involve distinct work.  Each is explained more fully on separate pages.  Just follow the links for details.

Where Can I See Wild Irises In A Natural Setting?

Louisiana irises are still in the wild, and with effort and luck they can be found and enjoyed.  Often they are not readily accessible and may be on private property. 

Fortunately, in South Louisiana there are nature preserves and other public sites where the irises grow in abundance and where they are accessible on boardwalks and trails.  It is an incredible treat to seem them blooming in masses in late March and April.  Click on any image below for information on the site (some individual sites under construction).

Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

Big Branch Iris Bloom
Jean Lafitte
Jean Lafitte

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Northlake a
Northlake Nature Center

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge

Bayou Sauvage
Bayou Sauvage GCs

Joyce Wildlife Management Area


Wetland Trace, Town of Jean Lafitte

boardwalk moss

Bonnet Carre' Spillway Recreation Area

Bonnet Carre irises
Palmetto Island nelsonii
Palmetto Island boardwalk

Palmetto Island State Park

Black Swamp white GCs

Black Swamp, Burden Museum and Gardens

Black Swamp



For a general overview of the Louisiana iris species, see the Zydeco Louisiana Iris Garden species pages 

Society for Louisiana Irises, The Louisiana Iris:  The Taming of a Native American Wildflower, 2nd ed., Timber Press, 2000, Chapter 1, "History of Louisiana Irises"