Iris is a genus of about 260–300, species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris. Some authors state that the name refers to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, as well as some belonging to other closely related genera. A common name for some species is 'flags', while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are widely known as 'junos', particularly in horticulture. It is a popular garden flower.
An iris – species unspecified – is one of the state flowers of Tennessee. Tradition holds that the particular iris symbolizing Tennessee is a purple cultivar, to go alongside the wild-growing Purple Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata), which is the state's other floral emblem. Greeneville, Tennessee is home to the annual Iris Festival celebrating the iris, local customs, and culture.
The fleur-de-lis, a stylized iris, first occurs in its modern use as the emblem of the House of Capet. The fleur-de-lis has been associated with France after Louis VII adopted it as a symbol in the 12th century. The yellow fleur-de-lis reflects the Yellow Iris (I. pseudacorus), common in Western Europe. Contemporary uses can be seen in the Quebec flag and the logo of the New Orleans Saints professional football team and on the flag of Saint Louis, Missouri.
The red fleur-de-lis in the coat-of-arms of Florence (Italy) descends from the white iris, which is native to Florence and which grew even in its city walls. This white iris, displayed against a red background, became the symbol of Florence until the Medici family, to signal a change in political power, reversed the colors, making the white one red and setting in motion a centuries-long breeding program to hybridize a red iris.
Furthermore, the fleur-de-lis is the almost-universal symbol of Scouting and one of the symbols adopted by the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma.
A stylized Yellow Iris is the symbol of Brussels, since historically, the important Saint Gaugericus Island was carpeted in them. The iris symbol is now the sole feature on the flag of the Brussels-Capital Region.
The provincial flower of Québec (Canada) is the Harlequin Blueflag (I. versicolor), called iris versicolore in French.
Source: Iris (plant) from Wikipedia
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