Common name: Purple flag, Native Iris; Noongar name: Komma
Origin of Scientific Name
Patersonia – after William Paterson (1755-1810), commander of the military force in NSW; one of the earliest botanists of the colony, and a friend of botanist Robert Brown to whom he sent specimens.
occidentalis – (Latin) western; used in comparison to other species or geographical areas, referring to the State of Western Australia where the species is found.
Patersonia occidentalis is a strappy leaf, tufted perennial herb that grows to 80 cm high and up to 60 cm wide. It can be found naturally amongst granite outcrops and on dunes from the Murchison River to east of Esperance.
It’s striking three-petalled flowers in blue, violet or purple appear in late spring to early summer, but can appear at other times throughout the year. These flowers are held above the foliage for a stunning display that also attracts native bees. Interestingly, individual flowers open for less than one day; however, many flowers are produced from the one stem and a well grown plant will produce a large number over the season, making them a most attractive addition to the home garden.
- Propagate from seed sown in May and June.
- Plant in a sunny position.
- Best mass planted in drifts and used as a border plant with Pimelea ferruginea and Leucophyta brownii.
- For improved display, replace plants every three to four years.
For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.
View in Kings Park
Visit Kings Park to see Patersonia occidentalis at the entry to the Western Australian Botanic Garden and in Northern Wheatbelt garden beds along Forrest Drive (refer to map).
Want more information?
Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.