This photograph from Manitoba last summer prompts memories of swarming mosquitoes and deer flies. Venturing into areas where small, muddy ponds are found under a canopy of mixed hardwood and coniferous forest seems a bit unwise in retrospect. Having grown up in Manitoba, I can tolerate quite a few mosquitoes, but this particular venture did test my limits. I suspect the mosquitoes were as annoyed as I was when I inhaled a few.
Exploring these areas did have its rewards, such as seeing these blue flags. Mind you, it can be seen just as well growing in ditches along the road in many places, so perhaps I’m just trying to convince myself that the bloodied and itchy hands and arms were worth it.
Iris versicolor is native to eastern North America, where, as already alluded to, it is a plant of wetlands and water margins. A visit to the Iris Species Database will reveal that this species is extremely variable in flower morphology and colour. Such variation suggests this plant does not require a specialist pollinator, and indeed it does not. In fact, the preferred pollination strategy of flying insects is not the only route this species will utilize; if necessary, it can also undergo wind pollination or even self-pollination. If that isn’t enough to successfully reproduce, plants can also propagate clonally. Little wonder then that this species is the most widely distributed in North America (ref: the Iris Species Database).