Northern Blue Flag: The Northern Blue Flag is the most well-known of the native irises. Native Americans and early settlers found a practical use for this plant, using the strong fibers from the leaves to make ropes, nets, and string. The word "iris" comes from Greek, meaning "rainbow." The mythical Iris of Greek legend personified the rainbow, acting as the messenger from heaven to earth. This flower also appears in ancient Egyptian sculpture and tradition, as a symbol of life and power.