Flowers and Art

The Beauty of Japanese Irises

There are few flowers around the world the can match the majesty of the iris, but Japanese artists have long known this. This flower fits perfectly into their idea of flower art because of the angular nature of the plant, but the flower itself is a complex design that focuses the eye. An iris, of almost any color, is a unique flower that shows the beautiful elements of nature in a single plant.

Irises are tall flowers, and they begin with leaves that grow straight up from the ground in a triangular shape. These leaves surround a straight stalk that is approximately twice the length of the leaves, and it supports a flower that looks as if it is a challenge to support. The flower itself is actually rectangular in its dimensions for single colored irises, and these are often the ones favored by Japanese artists.

Part of the complexity of the iris plant’s flower is the folds of it. There is a crown that comes up in the middle, and this is composed of three delicately flutes lobes that meet in the center above the plant. Between these lobes, the lower part of the flower extends out in three more lobes. Each of the lower lobes is also delicately fluted, and they contain the pollen that attracts local bees. These pollen strips are yellow no matter the color of the flower itself, so they are a common point with any of the many varieties available.

The thinness of the flower itself allows sunlight to pass through its lobes, so it has color variations even though there are no actual pigment changes in a single colored flower. There are now several species of iris plants that have different top and bottom lobe colors, but the most sought after plants are those that bloom in one shade. This is an artistic preference that has long been part of Japanese floral art.