Iris domestica 'Freckle Face'

Common Name: blackberry lily 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 5 to 10
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Orange with red spots
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Likes moist soils, but poorly-drained ones, particularly in winter, can be fatal. Clumps slowly expand by creeping rhizomes. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions which helps keep these somewhat short-lived perennials in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iris domestica, commonly called blackberry lily or leopard lily, is an erect, rhizomatous perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall. Lily-like, deep orange flowers (to 2" across), heavily spotted with red dots, have 6 petal-like perianth segments. Flowers appear in early to-mid summer in sprays above the foliage on wiry, naked stems typically rising to 3' (less frequently to 4') tall. Sword-shaped, iris-like, medium green leaves (to 10" long) are in flattened fans. Flowers give way to pear-shaped seed pods which split open when ripe (late summer), with each pod revealing a blackberry-like seed cluster, hence the common name of blackberry lily. The seed heads are persistent and can provide winter interest. Spotting on the flowers gives rise to the additional common name of leopard lily. Formerly known as Belamcanda chinensis.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Specific epithet means frequently used as a house plant or domesticated.

'Freckle Face' features 2" wide, orange-yellow blooms speckled with contrasting red spots. The flowers are held in sprays of 3-12 that emerge from the foliage clumps from mid to late summer. The foliage is typical of irises, with upright fans of lanceolate leaves. Mature plants will reach up to 2' tall with a 1' spread.


No serious insect or disease problems. Iris borers may attack plant rhizomes.

'Freckle Face' offers improved resistance to cercospora leaf spot.