Wild Iris

They are just fading now, but the Yellow Flag has added something to recent walks.

Wild Iris / Yellow flag / Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus

Known in Orkney as Segs.

‘The raw juice of this plant was used to cure toothache. The juice was sucked up the nose.’ – Magnus Spence, Flora Orcadensis 

‘Snuff made from its roots helped relieve colds.’ – Healing Threads, Mary Beith

‘Not so long ago, children in Orkney made ‘seggy boats’ from the leaves and there was a belief among those that made the boats that chewing the leaf would render one dumb. Remains of Yellow Iris have been found in the middens of Skara Brae (the neolithic site in Orkney)’. – The Orkney Book of Wildflowers, Tim Dean & Anne Bignall

‘Traditionally used in dyeing the rhizomes (with a copper mordant) will give a blue-grey colour and their leaves (with alum) produce a lovely dark green, used in 19thC Harris Tweed’ – Flora Celtica, Milliken & Bridgewater

Photographs above taken at the Gloup in Deerness, Orkney. Below is an earlier photogram from a specimen from Finstown.

Header image: Solarised photograph of Flag Iris sward, North Ronaldsay.