Hundreds of Louisiana iris varieties populate the low-lying swales that help drain excess moisture from the Tea Garden and Camellia Trail areas. After a heavy rain, slow-moving water flows through the iris plants in the picturesque, gently bending “rivers.”
Louisiana irises are hybrids bred from five iris species native to the American South: Iris fulva, Iris giganticaerulea, Iris hexagona, Iris nelsonii and Iris brevicaulis.
Famed painter and ornithologist John James Audubon was the first to call a Louisiana iris by that name. While living in Louisiana in the 1820s, he painted a pair of warblers and included a rose-colored iris in the background, noting it was a “Louisiana flag.”
Peak bloom at the Rivers of Iris is in April and early May. When admiring the rivers in flower, the effect suggests a Monet painting. In the breeze, the iris petals flutter like butterflies.