Sierra Iris in the central Sierras, El Dorado & Amador Counties

Iris hartwegii is part of the middle altitude yellow pine forest flora, in a band extending the length of the western Sierra Nevadas. It disappears at higher elevations where fir trees replace the pines, and in lower regions dominated by deciduous oaks. Though found sporadically throughout the pine forests, Sierra iris blooms in especially good numbers only in situations where direct sunlight reaches the forest floor. Sometimes you can find virtual carpets of iris blooming in old logging sites, road cuts, or areas of forest thinning or recent forest fires.

Sierra iris, I. hartwegii in the central Sierras

In the Central Sierra Nevadas, Iris hartwegii occurs between around 2,000 and 7,000 feet elevation. Above: Near Kyburz, along highway 50 in El Dorado County, growing on decomposed granite scree a few years after a major forest fire. June 23, 2002.   Below: (L) Cream color flowers with a pale lavender wash; Highway 50 near Rainbow, El Dorado County. June 19, 2003. (R) Highway 88 near Hams Station, Amador County. June 16, 2003. Photos - Steve Ayala.