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Published In: Genera Plantarum 57. 1789. (4 Aug 1789) (Gen. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/22/2009)


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IRIDACEAE (Iris Family)

Plants perennial herbs with rhizomes or bulbs. Leaves alternate or all basal, mostly 2-ranked, lacking petioles, the leaf blades flat or folded longitudinally, the bases forming open sheaths. Veins parallel, a well-defined midvein lacking. Inflorescences panicles, umbel-like clusters, racemes, spikes, or 1-flowered, the nodes and the flowers or flower clusters with spathelike bracts, these green, white, colored, or transparent. Flowers perfect, radially symmetric (bilaterally symmetric elsewhere), with 3 sepals and 3 petals, these similar or dissimilar, the sepals usually colored. Stamens 3, the filaments usually fused basally. Ovary 1 per flower, inferior, with 3 locules. Styles 3-lobed. Fruits capsules, usually with numerous flattened or globose seeds. Eighty to 92 genera, 1,500–1,850 species, worldwide.

Flowering specimens of species of Iridaceae are separable from those of the Liliaceae by the combination of an inferior ovary and 3 rather than 6 stamens.


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1 Sepals and petals much different in size and position, the 3 sepals spreading, reflexed or arching downward, the 3 petals erect to spreading; the 3 style branches enlarged and petaloid, concealing the stamens 2 Iris
+ Sepals and petals more or less similar in size and position, all spreading; the 3 style branches not enlarged and petaloid, the stamens easily visible at flowering (2)
2 (1) Leaves 15–32 mm wide; perianth orange to orangish red, with darker red to brownish purple spots 1 Belamcanda
+ Leaves 1–11 mm wide; perianth various shades of blue, purple, white, or pale yellow, lacking spots but often with a well-defined yellow or white “eye” at the base (3)
3 (2) Aerial stems circular in cross-section, from a bulb; sepals and petals 18–30 mm long; mature fruits 10–20 mm long 3 Nemastylis
+ Aerial stems flattened, from a mass of fibrous roots; sepals and petals 5–12 mm long; mature fruits 2–6 mm long 4 Sisyrinchium
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