Iris versicolor; Iridaceae (iris family)
Sometimes I’m so focused on seeing small, hidden, hard-to-find flowers that I miss the really big ones. Last weekend while walking on the towpath Steve stopped me to ask “garden escapee?” while pointing at this:
Well, no, actually, that is a native iris: larger blue flag. According to the USDA site, there are four other native irises found in this area: slender blue flag, Virginia iris, dwarf crested iris, and dwarf violet iris.
This iris likes to have its feel wet: you’ll see it growing in or right next to shallow bodies of water. There’s a small marsh between the towpath and the river, between Carderock and Old Anglers’ Inn, that has a large stand them. They grow up to three feet tall.