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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 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: S. I. Ali & Brian Mathew
General/Distribution: A family with 92 genera and c. 1800 species, cosmopolitan in distribution, with greater concentration in South Africa, Eastern Mediterranean and Central and South America. In Pakistan the family is represented by 3 genera and 19 species; whereas 3 genera and 3 species are grown as ornamentals.


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Perennial herbs with rhizomes, corms or bulbs. Leaves usually distichous, equitant, base sheathing. Inflorescence generally racemose or paniculate or reduced to 1-3 flowers, subtended by 1 or 2 bracts (spathe). Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual. Perianth biseriate, petaloid, inner and outer tepals (or perigone segments) similar or different, free or united into a basal solid hypanthium, well developed or reduced. Outer segments are known as falls and the inner ones as standard. Stamens 3, opposite the outer tepals. Ovary inferior, mostly 3-locular, placentation axile; style usually trifid, frequently petaloid. Fruit a loculicidal capsule. Seeds globose to ellipsoid or pyriform, variable in shape, sometimes arillate.

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1 Stylar branches not tepaloid. (3)
+ Stylar branches tepaloid. (2)
2 (1) Corm covered by reticulate-fibrous outer layer; flowers with no hypanthial or perigone tube; style distinct, branched well above the base of the perigone segments. 1 Moraea
+ Rhizomes or bulbs, not covered by reticulate fibrous outer layer, (except in Iris reticulata); hypanthial or perigone tube present; style branched at the level of the base of the perigone segments. 2 Iris
3 (1) Inflorescence spicate. (4)
+ Inflorescence not spicate; perigone tube straight, more than 1.5 cm long. 3 Crocus
4 (3) Aerial stem straight; style branches undivided. (5)
+ Aerial stem zigzag; style branches deeply divided. 5 Freesia
5 (4) Hypanthial tube bent or curved. 4 Gladiolus
+ Hypanthial tube straight. 6 Ixia
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