Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snake's Head Iris

Hermodactylus tuberosus or Snake’s Head Iris is not a true iris. A Mediterranean native,  Hermodactylus tuberosus means Finger of Hermes. The tuberous root looks somewhat like the fingers of the human hand. The common name Snake’s Head is said to come from the unusual coloring and shape that resembles the head of a snake. Its pointed buds resemble snake heads with open mouths if you squint.

This flower is sometimes the “widow iris” for its somber color or “black iris” for its velvety black falls. Hermodactylus tuberose is a lovely perennial bulb with yellow-green, iris-like blooms and velvety near-black falls in early spring.

A great rock garden bulb. Would contrast well with white early-blooming companions.

Bud and strappy foliage.


  1. I'm squinting, I see the open snake's mouth.

    Yes, I bet it would look very nice with some white blooms nearby.


  2. Nell, it is good to visit your gardens again. We have so many plants the same and then like this one, many different.

    Some how it reminds my of my very early dwarf brown iris.

  3. Nell ~ What a lovely and unusual flower. Thanks for sharing it here. I bet your place is bursting out all over with lovely blooms.

    Enjoy and happy gardening ~ FlowerLady

  4. This is very unusual....thanks for introducing it to us.

  5. Very pretty, but I would never have thought "iris" when I first saw it.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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