In vitro biological activities including bactericidal, fungicidal and insecticidal activities as well as phytotoxicity and brine shrimp toxicity of the petroleum ether, chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts of Iris germanica L. were determined. The bactericidal activity of the extracts was assayed by the agar well diffusion test. In the fungicidal test, the agar tube dilution method was used. The insecticidal activity was determined by the exposure method. The toxicity of the extracts was evaluated by the phytotoxicity test as well as the brine shrimp toxicity test. The chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts of I. germanica rhizomes exhibited bactericidal activity, while the petroleum ether extract did not exhibit any bactericidal, fungicidal and insecticidal activities. It was also inactive in the brine shrimp toxicity test, whereas it showed significant phytotoxicity against the plant Lemna aequinoctialis Welv. Two known isoflavones were isolated from the chloroform extract of the plant. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.