Here in Cincinnati, the irises are in full bloom. I think they are one of the prettiest, most unusual looking flowers. The word, "iris" comes from a Greek word meaing, "rainbow." I think that's appropriate, since they come in many colors of the rainbow. There are over 300 different kinds. They are characterized by long stems, sword-shaped leaves, and blooms with three petals standing upright from the sepal base.
Irises grow from bulbs. These ornamental plants usually blossom in March, April,or May. The most common type is the German bearded iris.
Besides looking pretty in gardens, irises have other uses. Their essential oil is sometimes used in aromatherapy products as a relaxant. Their dried bulbs (rhizomes)are given to babies to help with teething. (I have not personally tried this - I've just read about it.) Yellow irises are used to help purify contaminated water by consuming nutrient polluntants like fertilizer that run off into lakes.