Colors, Patterns of Japanese Iris

ColorsThere are only three colors found with Japanese iris red white and blue.

Japanese iris, Iris ensata besides the varied flower forms has some of the most diverse patterns that blend colors in the iris world.  This being said when there are only three colors at this time available to Iris ensata.  White or Alba, Red-violet, and Blue-violet, however these violet colors come in a full range of pale pastels to dark almost black in tone.


self color like 'Flamingo Waltz' has no visible markings
‘Flamingo Waltz’

Self Pattern: a solid mono color without any visible markings or other patterns. The color of ‘Flamingo Waltz’ and other so called pinks are just a pastel red-violet. If you would hold a pink rose next to this bloom your eye will see that the color is actually lilac.

'Embossed showing a Halo as a pattern.

Halo Pattern: most times easier to see on the flower than to photograph, not very common however when present can be very striking. It is the dark coloring found surrounding the Signal, the bright yellow spot found on all Japanese iris, Iris ensata.

Yuzen shows the rimmed pattern of Japanese iris.

Rimmed Pattern: a flower with a sharp linear line around the petals. This can be a colored rim such as ‘Yuzen’ shown here, or it can be a rim of a lighter coloring than the color of the petals.

The banded pattern is like the rim only heavier and wider.
‘Sunrise Ridge’

Banded Pattern: similar to the rim only wider with the coloring on the flower petal.

The washed or brushed pattern looks like someone painted the color on with a paint brush showing the brush strokes.
‘Blushing Snowmaiden’

Brushed or Washed Pattern: looks as if the color was lightly brush painted on.

Pleasant Sandman looks to be covered in colored sand hence the sanded pattern.
‘Pleasant Sandman’

Sanded Pattern: are very fine dots of color similar to looking at the funnies in the paper with a magnifying glass.

Freckled pattern is similar to the sanded only larger dots of color.
‘Freckled Peacock’

Freckled Pattern: If a flower has large random dots of color is said to be freckled.

Random streaks of color wit no two flowers looking alike are said to be of a broken color.
‘Dragon Tapestry’

Broken or Splashed Pattern: random streaking of color (well known in Camellias that were also bred in Asia) with no two flowers looking alike.

Caprican Butterfly is of the veined pattern where the veins are darker than the color of the petals.
‘Caprician Butterfly’

Veined Pattern: where the veins are darker than the background color of the fall, this is a public favorite.

Koto Harp strings shows the rayed pattern
‘Koto Harp Strings’

Rayed Pattern: one of my personal favorites, when the veins are lighter in color than the color of the flower petal.

Celestial Emperor shows a combination of many of the patterns.
‘Celestial Emperor’

Many of these patterns can be present on a single flower at the same time, with the colors that are available; the combinations can seem endless for the garden. Here ‘Celestial Emperor’ is showing a Halo, Washed, Banded, Rimmed, and the Veined Pattern all together with many shades of red-violet and blue-violet that can be found in the Japanese iris, Iris ensata flower.