Japanese Iris Plant Study


Plant Study:
Japanese Iris Iris Iacvigata or Iris Ensata

by Mirasha / Mitsuyo Matsumoto


I have been involved with Flower Essence Therapy for about five
years. The recent seminar given by Ms. Patricia Kaminski and Mr.
Richard Katz was truly valuable and meaningful for me. I am
thankful and filled with respect for both of them.

After considering it carefully, I chose to study the Japanese Iris. The Iris is the logo of the FES flower essences. At the Seminar, Patricia asked us, "What does the Iris mean to Japanese people?"

At that time, nobody, including me, had any particular answer, and it has been in the back of my mind ever since. Irises are a well-known flower for the Japanese. During the seminar, we learned about many flowers, however, Irises remain the most impressive to me.

In Greek, Iris has two meanings: that of the goddess Iris
and that of “rainbow.” The Greeks say that the goddess Iris leads the souls of women to Heaven over a rainbow bridge. Often people offer Iris flowers when women die. To some, the meaning of Iris is "message."

After the seminar, I went promptly to the library and looked
into the Iris. I was surprised to learn that two different kinds of
plants are considered Irises. "Shoubu", or "Sweet Flag," which isn't a true Iris, belongs to the Taro family. The Japanese Iris, which is a true Iris, has two Latin botanical names according to the English dictionary, Iris Iacvigata or Iris Ensata. (Photo above courtesey of Ensata Gardens.)

The Japanese Iris grows where it gets a lot of sunshine and
in well drained soils. In Japan, they grow easily and can be found
almost everywhere. The reason I chose the Japanese Iris for my study was that I hoped to have a profound learning experience. Secondly, I love purple; I always wear purple clothes and most everything around me ends up to be purple! I really feel a strong connection with the colour purple.

The Irises were in bloom in the neighbourhood park when I made my decision to study the Iris. Everyday I would sit in the park and observe the beautiful purple blooms. To most Japanese people, both "Irises" are considered to be the same type of plant, although during my examination of this issue, it turned out that actually, they are two completely different plants. They have been confused for a long time. I found similar statements in a lot of the literature. All of the information I found made me even more eager to meet the ancestral Japanese Iris.

Usually in Japan, Irises bloom from May to July. It was a perfect time to meet the Iris in full bloom. The place where thousands of Irises grow in colonies is on the high slope of Mt. Obina (1422M) in Yamanashi Prefecture. It takes three hours to arrive by car from Tokyo. The picture attached to this report was taken on June 1st. I saw about twenty Irises starting to bloom. They say by around June 20th, the Irises will be in full-bloom.

They were just starting to bloom; however, it was sufficient for my first encounter with Japanese Irises. I had an entirely different impression of these Irises than those at the park in my neighbourhood. The Irises we see on the streets are hybrids of Iris and they vied with each other in beauty just as if they were in a beauty contest. However, the most interesting thing was the dream I had that first night after seeing the ancestral Irises. I met the spirit of Iris and received a clear message.

Among traditional Japanese cultural activities, we have a play called "Noh". In the "Noh" play, we often see the spirit of a flower falling in love with a human male. Women are always likened
to flowers and in the plays the spirit of the flower confesses her
love to the man in many unique ways, [through the use of] costumes, music, dialogue and dances. For the first time after the dream, I felt that plants really have their own languages. Some plants are fond of being close with humans, which makes their relationship to us more intimate.

For Japanese people, the most common properties of the Iris are its ability to purify evil energies or protect oneself. People have
been fond of using the design of this flower on their Kimonos for
centuries. They have also appeared in many paintings and have been written about in Haiku poems. The Iris is one of the most appealing flowers to our peoples’ artistic senses.

Exercises to Improve Objective Perception

1. The resonance I felt from the Iris is that of beauty,
purity, and serenity. First of all, the translucent clear-blue
purple colour looks purple from the distance. However, when I attune myself to its energy, it looks bluey-purple, a quality I have never experienced before, and it shines brightly. Outside of the three petals with sepals, which stand straight and inwardly, the flower forms a beautiful triangular shape from the top view with the outer side of petals with sepals spreading out and hanging down.

2. In between the inner petal and outer petal, there stands a
pistil with the stamen hidden beneath it. The calyx is tightly
intersected diagonally and the bud is attached to the calyx. Stalks are slim and they have joints very similar to small bamboo. On the foot of the outer petal, white and yellow patterns are beautifully shown. I felt the energy radiate. The leaves grow perpendicular from the root. Viewed from the top, the two triangular shapes create a "Star of David."

3. They grow where they get a lot of sunshine and are well
drained, yet moist. Among the weeds, colonies of the Iris consisted of four to eight flowers blooming here and there. I also found mountain azaleas, pine trees, and small yellow flowers blooming there as well. It was impressive to see them blooming here and there in the green grove. The leaves are narrow and the tips pointy, yet not hard. They looked sharp however they felt firm and concentrated. There were a lot of bees flying around and I actually was stung.Other than bees, there were a lot of grasshoppers, light green bugs with wings, ants and lady bugs.

4. Iris takes root firmly on the Earth. Their relationship
with the Earth is the way they stand perpendicular and straight. Where they grow there is relatively little water. I felt their strength to survive in the cold air, high altitudes, and
capture the humidity of the morning dew in the grove. Fire: they
grow in sunny places where they can absorb as much sun as possible without interference. They prefer open spaces where they can harness the Sun's energy.

5. The outer petals are surrendered to the ground as if
offering gratitude.

The way they open widely from the centre looks as though
they are receiving all the universal energy fully without
hesitation. It looks like full surrender and full expression of
themselves, too. Combining the colour of blue sky, and divine purple from the essences of the spirits, they shine with transparency. Also, the bright white colour flooding from the centre, and the yellow colour spreading from the centre on the outer petal, are just as if the divine white light was embracing the yellow warm shiny light within. The expressed colours of blue-purple, white and yellow are radiated directly from veins which pass through the whole plant as it praises the power and the mystery of life. The more I observed them, the more I was attracted to their mysterious beauty.

The Iris has a unique system within the design of the
flower. They are designed not to be self-fertilizing in order to
maintain greater genetic variety, making it able to adapt to changes in the environment. Most flowers are pollinated on the tips of their stamens, however the Iris is uniquely pollinated in deeper places, and not the tips.

Blue Flag Iris in the Sierra Nevadas, California, USA

As a herb, the Iris called Blue Flag (Iris versicolor) from North America, has been used among Native American peoples. It is said to enhance the circulation of the lymph and the function of the immune system. Hence, they are used in remedies to purify blood and detoxification. It also is used for skin diseases and has a diuretic effect. It purifies the liver which is the main detoxifying organ in our body. Also, it enhances the secretion of digestive fluid and can ease indigestion, constipation, heart burn and nausea. Iris has been used for calming swelling of lungs, throat, nose and lymph glands. As a medicine for external application, Iris' rhizomes can be used in a poultice. (However, raw roots of the Irises contain toxins, therefore, use them after drying and use only small amounts.)

Essential Oils of Iris

Store the roots of Iris for 2 to 3 years, and grind the partly
fermented roots and distill them with steam. The scent is sweet,
floral, warm and smells like violets. This essential oil strongly
affects the state of mind. It helps one's balance and helps to open
the not-easy-to-open heart, along with healing the wounds in one's heart. This essential oil can be considered a gift from the heavens. It stimulates our creativity and enhances our intuition and love. It is suitable to be used for mixing perfumes and it works as a perfect preservative. It also has the function to clear one's throat, purify blood and produce a diuretic effect.

Exercises to Improve Artistic Perception

I see white and purple light shine down to Iris. It looks as
if it is reflected with crystals and shines like a diamond. There is a mass of energy in the root which seems to store energy from which the stem lengthens skyward, and I see the appropriate amount of water delivered up. The cylinder-shaped straight stem sucks the energy up without waste, to support the petal to be opened freely, easily and fully. I see rays of light surrounding this plant as if they were laser beams forming a grid. It does not really show colours, it is more like a pure light itself. It is transparent, however it also has a unique quality. Drops of lights shine finely. They look like the fine mist droplets rising from waterfalls. There appears to be many green spheres of Devic energy. The straight ray of purple and the spheres of energy support each other. I also see a yellow flame surrounded by purple.

In terms of the gestures of these flowers, the most noticeable thing is that the outermost three petals open widely, naturally and at ease. How relaxed, and at the same time, beautiful they look! The top view looks like a mandala which makes a detailed triangular geometric pattern. I oftentimes use the space of a trigonal pyramid. I felt a reversed trigonal pyramid pattern in the Iris. I observed that this gesture is to bring higher energy from the universe to the Earth.

The Iris says "It is OK to relax. To show the way you are
is splendid and beautiful. Explore your own uniqueness, don't imitate others just to be accepted or to be liked by people. We are just like stars in the sky, and every living thing on the earth is a “star” on the earth.

I feel that devotion and beauty are the nature of the Iris. Faith is a key word for Iris. These qualities indicate infinite possibilities. It holds the noble, divine quality and at the same time is approachable. The Iris holds the qualities of the cosmic goddess and roots them deeply on the Earth.

Poem of Iris

Why are people bewildered to be open and show themselves?
What are they afraid of? What are they resisting for?
See me and feel the power of my self concentration.
I am a rainbow. I am a shooting star.
I bring divinity to the earth. I know the joy of opening
myself, learning self mastery on the Earth and devoting
myself to the last drops of my life.


The night I finished the observation of plants, I had a clear
dream. I have clairvoyant sense and have developed visual
perception of things. However, I heard a voice for the first time in my life that night. It was surprising and an amazing experience. I am sure that since I had attuned with Iris, it happened to me. It was quite an interesting experience having a different sensory organ activated. After I heard this voice, I saw an image/scene. It was about the relationship of my family, it was as if it were telling me what kind of past lives we've had. It was a dream although it was so vivid it was like watching a movie.

People say that in terms of relationships, we build the same kind of relationships with others based upon our own family
relationships. I have gone through a lot of healing, and thanks to
those processes, the relationships I have now give me satisfaction and I am trustful most of the time. Of course, they are not always perfect, but I am thankful for them. However, I cannot help feeling distrust and separation from my own family oftentimes. They are my shadows which usually stay under the surface. I understand intellectually that it is important to accept just the way it is, however, truthfully, it always feels difficult for me. I find myself not enjoying being with my family; I feel isolated because what I enjoy, my interests, my values and the way I think, are different from them.

The spirit of Iris appeared and spoke to me in a whisper: "No one in your family has realized this, yet each of your family members was involved in music in a past life. But, everybody gave it up and did something else since it was not easy to make a living by being a musician at that time. In this past time, everyone of your family loved music so much they couldn't do it as much as they wanted to and it ruined their lives. Music will unite you all again. Please remember this and open yourself to your family issues and learn forgiveness, mercy and patience."

I was surprised and at the same time understood it well, for some reason. My sister is a talented singer. When she sings, she sounds like a professional, although she isn't involved in music. My father loves to listen to beautiful soprano singers singing classical music. I did not know this until recently, and my mother loves "Nagauta" (Japanese folk songs). Since the message I have noticed that we love music even though our tastes differ. At first I had no idea why the spirit of Iris gave me this message concerning the relationship of my family. I figure that the spirit might have indicated that one of the issues we have is relating to creativity.

I believed I had no artistic sense and had a huge inferiority complex about it. After I started healing myself, I began to hope that gradually my inner creativity would blossom someday. I still sometimes feel jealousy toward people around me who are artistically talented. I wish to sing, I wish I was able to!!!

The message from the Iris spirit left a deep impression
on my soul. The next evening, I had a high fever, was vomiting and had a head ache for three days and had to stay in bed. On the way home from observing Irises on the mountain, I was stung by a bumble bee. The affected part was swollen and radiated heat. I was experiencing a kind of intense healing crises in myself.

After all the symptoms went away, I had a phone call
from my friend, which strongly reminded me of the possibilities I
had almost given up unconsciously. I felt as though I was under the influence of the negative qualities of Gorse in Bach Flower
Essences. I had lost all of my hope although I was not aware of it.

I started taking the Iris flower essence for the first
time ten days ago. Every night I see buildings in my dreams;
sometimes it's an office building and sometimes it's a hotel. The
commonality is that these buildings have many rooms in them. At first, I hated the buildings I saw in my dreams, because of the
misery and dilapidated rooms and I wanted to forget about
them as soon as possible. In a dream on a recent morning though, the rooms there were neat and tidy and filled with gentle shiny red light. I found myself starting to like the rooms and I felt that the creativity within them was coming to life again. Although I am not sure exactly what is happening, I am going to accept the rooms and dreams as they are.

My intuition tells me that as long as I shut down my creativity within, the relationship with my family is not going to heal. I was so happy while I wrote this report with the help of Iris this time. Just one day of observation for several hours triggered a lot of insights and filled me with new findings and awareness. I made a vow to myself to make the time to attune with all the flowers
which I've been using regularly (both FES and Bach flower essences). I also would like to establish an ultra-sensual and
creative relationship with the flowers around my place. My dream is to write an original scenario, make a picture book, read it aloud and create music; this process with Iris and flower essences has given me a theme which I didn't have before. I would like to describe the world of flowers to people, and share my deep feelings and experiences with people.

Mitsuyo Matsumoto is a flower essence therapist, Lightworker and President of Angel of Light. She offers support for people in the creation of their lives, working with love and abundance through flower essences.



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