4-9 Iridaceae, iris family

Marian C. Munro, Ruth E. Newell, Nicholas M. Hill


A family of about 1800 species, it is centred about South Africa. Many cultivars have been formed of the crocus, iris and gladiolus genera, and are widely planted here. All have showy regular flowers and may be distinguished from the liliaceous plants by their possession of only three stamens and an inferior ovary. Most are perennial herbs with straplike leaves arising from creeping rhizomes or fibrous roots. Leaves in our species are oriented edgewise to the stem. Flowers are arranged in a spicate inflorescence or solitary and usually subtended by a floral bract if solitary, or by two bracts if in a spike. The perianth has two whorls of three tepals. Fruits are firm capsules with three locules containing round seeds. Image use provided by John Crabtree, Martin Thomas, Ross Hall and Sean Blaney.


Magnoliophyte, iris family, monocots, Iris, Sisyrinchium, blue-eyed grass, blue flag, iris

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