(Iridaceae). Genus of about 90 species of semi-evergreen clump forming, rhizomatous perennials. Native to North and South America, they thrive in habitats ranging from mountainous areas to meadows and coastal sands. They produce clumps of linear to sword-shaped, mostly basal leaves often forming fans. In spring and summer, upright, often winged stems bear star, cup or shallowly trumpet shaped blue or white flowers, singly or in umbel-like clusters enclosed in a pair of spathe bracts. Makes excellent ground cover with flowers opening in the sun, like miniature irises. Will grow on neutral to slightly alkaline soil in full sun or part shade.