Michigan State Wildflower

Dwarf Lake Iris

Dwarf Lake Iris

(Iris lacustris)

Adopted on December 29, 1998 .

In 1998, the Dwarf Lake Iris, (Iris lacustris,) was designated as the state wildflower. Native to the state, the endangered flower grows along the northern shorelines of Lakes Michigan and Huron. With the efforts of the Michigan Wildflower Association  they promoted dwarf lake iris as a symbol of the state's efforts to balance growth and conservation, the dwarf lake iris gained majority support because it was so unique to the State of Michigan. House Bill No. 4923 was passed in both the House and Senate and Signed by Governor John M. Engler on December 29, 1998 with an effective date of December 30, 1998.

Michigan State Wildflower: Dwarf Lake Iris

Dwarf Lake Iris

The dwarf lake iris is a threatened species. Threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. The Dwarf lake iris is a miniature iris with showy, deep blue flowers. The flowers are about 1 to 1 2 inches in width and 1 2 to 2 2 inches in height and are born singly on stems less than 2 inches tall. Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 2" wide and are flattened, sword-like, and arranged in fan-shaped clusters. Although flowers are usually blue, lilac or white flowers are sometimes found.

Characteristics of the Dwarf Lake Iris


Dwarf lake iris only grows around the Great Lakes and occurs near the northern shores of Lakes Huron and Michigan in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada.


This miniature iris grows nowhere else in the world but in the Great Lakes Region. Most of the world's Dwarf Lake Iris population lies within Michigan's boundaries. Occurring close to Great Lakes shorelines in cool, moist lakeshore air, dwarf lake iris is found on sand or in thin soil over limestone-rich gravel or bedrock. Habitat is along old beach ridges or behind open dunes. Changing water levels can open new habitat for the plants.


Dwarf lake iris is a low-growing perennial with shallow, slender, creeping rhizomes which produce new fans of leaves at their nodes. It flowers mostly in semi-open habitats with partial sun. Seeds are rounded capsules about 2 inch long. Flowers appear from mid-May to early June.

Michigan Laws

The law designating the dwarf lake iris as the official Michigan state wildflower is found in Michigan STATUTES, Chapter 2, Section 2.81.

House Bill No. 4923 was passed in both the House and Senate and signed by Governor John M. Engler on December 29, 1998 with an effective date of December 30, 1998.

Chapter 2 STATE
STATE WILDFLOWER (2.81 - 2.81)

2.81 State wildflower.

Sec. 1.

The dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris) is designated as an official wildflower of this state.

History: 1998, Act 454, Imd. Eff. Dec. 30, 1998

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Dwarf Lake Iris

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
    Subclass: Liliidae
Order: Liliales
Family: Iridaceae - Iris family
Genus: Iris L. - iris
Species: Iris lacustris Nutt. - dwarf lake iris


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