Silky Purple Flag image pc280239 106KB
Native Iris
Purple & Yellow Flags
Family Iridaceae - Genus Patersonia
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Silky Purple Flag image pc300393 102KB

A most delicate and stunning flower that only lasts a day.

A member of the Iris family - family Iridaceae - whose 1,500 species world-wide include freesias, gladiolis, crocuses, and of course irises.

There are about 80 genera (sub-families) of which the Patersonia genus is one. There are about 19 species in this genus - most of which only occur in the south-west of Western Australia.

The New South Wales Flora Online web-site details four of these. Two of which are included below.


The Silky Purple Flag (Patersonia sericea) is the most common species on the East Coast.

Silky Purple Flag image pc200198 201KB

Its 5cm flowers appear in spring. It can be distinguished from other Purple Flag species by the silky hairs on its spathe (bud), wider leaves (5mm) and its flower stems coming from its fan-like base.

These photos were taken in Leura in the Blue Mountains.



Dwarf Purple Flag image pc040504 102KB

The Dwarf Purple Flag (Patersonia longifolia) is a smaller plant and occurs from Sydney and the adjacent ranges down into Victoria.

Dwarf Purple Flag image pc040497 103KB

It can be distinguished from the Silky Purple Flag by its leaves - which are bluish-green, narrower (2mm), sometimes twisted and have hairs crisscrossing them - see close-up to the right.


Dwarf Purple Flag image pc040494 202KB

These photos were taken in Leura in the Blue Mountains.



Yellow Flags image pa280410 56KB

The brilliant Yellow Flags (Patersonia umbrosa var. xanthina) occurs in south-west Western Australia.

Yellow Flags image pa280427 82KB

It looks like a Purple Flag that has been completely sprayed yellow.


Yellow Flags image pa280450 62KB

It flowers in spring.

These photos were taken north of Augusta in Western Australia.