"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Blue Iris, Blue Giraffe

Blue Iris, Blue Giraffe

From Irises: Their Culture and Selection by Gwendolyn Anley:

“It is not to be expected of the [brown and sepia irises] that they should have the same opacity as the blue irises, that the petals should have the same translucence, the spicing or sugaring, as it were, with gleaming fibers or particles which are nothing less than the flesh of the pure blue iris, so much so that the inadvertent tearing of a petal may seem like the harming of an animal.”


I’m working through the last of my spring iris photos (moving on to summer irises (if I find some) and late-blooming lilies soon), and for the last batch I’ve collected those images where the dominant colors are shades of blue, to post over the next few days.

When I finished post-processing for the iris below, I couldn’t stop thinking that its shape resembled the head of a giraffe. Anthropomorphism, of course, is the attribution of human qualities to nonhuman entities, usually animals, and very often domesticated animals. I don’t know if there’s a variation of anthropomorphism where humans (me!) find animal qualities in plants; I just know I saw this iris as a giraffe.

So I thought it would be fun to pretend I’d discovered a new iris: the giraffe iris. Imagine the fun I was planning to have with this little pretense, all sorts of shrieking blog words and hand-clapping about my great find.


Turns out someone already created a giraffe iris, noted not so much for its animal-like shape but for coloration that resembles a giraffe. See here — where you will find photos of the delightfully named Giraffe Kneehiz (knee-highs??) and a summary of its characteristics and hybridization.

Not to be dissuaded by actual facts, though, here’s my blue giraffe iris, from Oakland Cemetery’s gardens.

And here’s the blue giraffe — from Zoo Atlanta, where all the blue giraffes hang out — that inspired me.

See the resemblance?

Thanks for taking a look!


    1. Dale

      Yeah, that squinting thing worked well for me too. Also tried pressing against my eyeballs but that made me dizzy.

      During my “research” for this post, I did find a Blue Giraffe Restaurant in Florida (of course!) — so they somehow stole my idea even before I had it. Hate it when that happens.

      Thanks for the comment!


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