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Iridaceae in sub-Saharan Africa
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!Gladiolus bellus C.H. Wright Search in The Plant ListSearch in IPNISearch in Australian Plant Name IndexSearch in NYBG Virtual HerbariumSearch in Muséum national d'Histoire naturelleSearch in Type Specimen Register of the U.S. National HerbariumSearch in Virtual Herbaria AustriaSearch in JSTOR Plant ScienceSearch in SEINetSearch in African Plants Database at Geneva Botanical GardenAfrican Plants, Senckenberg Photo GallerySearch in Flora do Brasil 2020Search in Reflora - Virtual HerbariumSearch in Living Collections Decrease font Increase font Restore font

Published In: Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Royal Gardens, Kew 1906: 169. 1906. (Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew) Name publication detailView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 1/17/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Taxon Profile     (Last Modified On 1/20/2017)
Description: Plants 600–900 mm high, with large, green to purple cataphylls. Corm c. 15 mm diam.; tunics of brittle papery layers, outer becoming irregularly broken, rarely subfibrous, reddish brown. Leaves 4 or 5, lower 3 or 4 basal or nearly so, blades narrowly lanceolate to more or less linear, 7–12 mm wide, at least reaching base of spike, sometimes shortly exceeding it, firm textured with main vein and margins lightly thickened; upper 1 or 2 leaves cauline and much shorter. Stem simple, usually inclined or drooping, 3–4 mm diam. below first flower. Spike 3- to 8-flowered; bracts green, becoming dry and brown above, 40–50 mm long, inner slightly shorter than outer. Flowers white, lower tepals each with a dark red to violet spade shaped mark in lower midline and usually with dark streaks in throat; perianth tube cylindric below, upper part curved outward and flared, (42–)50–90 mm long, wider upper part c. 12 mm long; tepals nearly equal, broadly obovate, 30–35 x 20–22 mm. Filaments 22–28 mm long, inserted at top of cylindric part of tube, exserted for 5–8 mm; anthers 9–12 mm long, apices with obscure appendages less than 0.2 mm long. Ovary c. 5 mm long; style arching over stamens, dividing just beyond anther apices, branches c. 4.5 mm long. Capsules oblong-ellipsoid, 30–35 mm long; seeds oval to oblong, 9–11 x 5–7 mm, broadly winged. Chromosome number 2n = 60. Flowering time: March to June, sometimes into July.
Country: Malawi
Distribution and ecology: restricted to the Mulanje Massif in southern Malawi, a mountain complex that reaches to almost 3000 m and range rises abruptly above the surrounding plain and separated from the nearest highlands to the north and west by a distance of some 40 km; relatively common in rocky sites as well as in wet grassland above 1800 m, although it has been collected at lower elevations (early collections by Alexander Whyte and by Harry Johnson from Mt. Zomba are probably incorrect, for the plant has not been found again in this well-collected area).
Diagnosis: Its long perianth tube, 4.2–8.8 cm long and about half as long again to twice as long as the bracts, and white perianth with large conspicuous markings on the lower tepals, distinguish Gladiolus bellus from nearly all other species of the genus. It seems morphologically closest to the northern Tanzanian and Kenyan G. usambarensis, which has white flowers with subequal tepals and a perianth tube nearly as long. It seems unlikely that these two species are closely related to the G. murielae group of species despite their similar long-tubed white flowers, as they do not have the long-apiculate anthers that characterize all species of that alliance. Moreover, the shape of the tepal markings in G. bellus are spathulate and located in the middle of the tepals, quite different from the basal lanceolate streaks in section Acidanthera. The floral similarities between G. bellus and the G. murielae alliance are probably convergent rather than an indication of a close phylogenetic relationship.



Specimens whose coordinates are enclosed in square brackets [ ] have been mapped to a standard reference mark based on political units.
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