Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus, also known as Yellow Flag is a beautiful flower of May and June, but don’t let its beauty trick you. All Irises are poisonous. The fresh root contains furfural and Iridin which are toxic poisons for both humans and livestock. These toxic substances can cause headaches, nausea, irritate and inflame the eyes and throat. Make sure you don’t confuse an Iris with Sweetflag or Cattail which are both edible and grow in the same habitat. Iris pseudacorus is not a native plant to North America so this particular Iris was not used by American Indians for any specific medicinal purpose but Irises were used as a species for a few remedies. Before you completely ignore this plant it does have some useful attributes. The plant can be turned into a dye and the leaves can be made into a strong cordage for fishing nets and deer snares. The leaves were also woven into baskets, mats, rugs and bedding.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!
Yellow Iris Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software. Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Felter, Harvey Wickes, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D. King’s American Dispensatory, Vol. 1. Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Company, 1905. pg. 1077-1082
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon & Alfred Charles Kinsey. Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1996. Print. pg. 44
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 189-190
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 278
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 120-121
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 130-131
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web