Content Detail

Blackberry-lily has bright orange star-shaped flowers with red speckles that bloom in mid-summer on sword-shaped leaves. After blooming, the plant forms pear-shaped seed pods that open to reveal shiny black seeds in the fall. The pods are good for either winter interest in the garden or dried arrangements. 

  • Family (English) Iris
  • Family (botanic) Iridaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Orange
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate


Blackberry-lily varies in height from 2 to 4 feet high depending on the soil. Moist, rich soil will allow the flower stalks to reach full height, while drier soils will keep the plant shorter. The width of blackberry-lily is about 2 feet.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This plant is native to China.

Attracts birds or pollinators:

It will attract butterflies.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The leaves of the blackberry-lily are  are 10 inches tall and sword-shaped, similar to those of iris or gladiolus.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Blackberry-lilies have flat, star-shaped flowers that are orange and spotted with red.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit is a capsule that splits open to reveal shiny black seeds that resemble a blackberry.

Plant care:

Blackberry-lily should be planted in full sun in well-drained soil. It will not tolerate wet roots in the winter. In zone 5, mulch the plant heavily for the winter. Careful division should take place in the spring or you can allow the plant to reseed. Blackberry-lily will bloom the second year when grown from seed. If using the seed heads for dried arrangements, cut the plant before first frost.

List of pests and diseases:

Iris borer can be a problem, but removing dead leaves around the plant will reduce the amount of infestation. The plant reseeds heavily in moist soil, but unwanted plants are easily removed. It may require staking in fertile, moist soil. Blackberry-lily can be short-lived.


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