The Iris, famous in the history of France, is named after the Greek god of the rainbow, which its various colours aptly suggest. It was considered peculiarly sacred in olden days, and seems to enjoy a somewhat classical dignity even to-day. Ruskin says that it is "the flower of chivalry" and has a "sword for its leaf, and a lily for its heart," but Thoreau, with less gracious-ness considered it "too showy and gaudy, like some women's bonnets!" The Indians, however, viewed it from a more serious and practical side, and long ago used the root as a remedy for stomach troubles. Now the flowers furnish a fine blue colouring, which is used by chemists as a test for acids and alkalies. This highly ornamental species is found in low places, particularly in wet meadows and swamps, from May to July, and ranges from Newfoundland and Manitoba, south to Florida and Kansas. The long, narrow, pointed, sword-shaped light green leaves rise from a thick, fleshy, horizontal rootstock, which is covered with numerous fibrous rootlets. The leafy flower stalk grows two or three feet tall, and often branches for the blossoms. The large, handsome, plumy flowers are violet-blue, variegated with white, green and yellow. They are composed of nine petal-like divisions, which are divided into three distinct sets of three parts each. The three large lower parts are broadest toward the rounded tip, and are prettily spread and curved. They are violet coloured, with white and yellow markings, and purple veinings. The next three parts taper to a narrow base, and are much smaller, less spreading and nearly erect. They are violet coloured, with delicate purple veinings. The third set of parts represent the curious pistil, which is divided into three narrow arching sections, each curving outward and directly overlying the first three large parts beneath. These divisions are notched at the tips and are violet coloured -darker at the tips and purplish on the arch. Each of the latter parts hides a large, slender yellowish stamen. The magnificent flower is mounted on a three-angled, green seed case which terminates the stem. Usually several buds are guarded with a pair of short, sheathing leaflets, and they blossom one at a time. About twenty species of Iris are found distributed throughout North America and the name Fleur-de-lis is generally applied to them all.