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Iridaceae in sub-Saharan Africa
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Iridaceae of sub-Saharan Africa

Systematics, geography and ecology.

Welcome to the Iridaceae of sub-Saharan Africa home page. The project deals with the taxonomy and distribution of one of the largest families in Africa and surrounding islands but not including Madagascar. It deals with over 1,300 species, providing recognized names and synonymies for each. The genus Gladiolus is the largest in the region and one of the largest in the Iridaceae with over 265 species, some 250 of them occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Second largest genus is Moraea with over 230 species, all but two of them restricted to the area and 210 of these confined to southern Africa.

There are currently 37 genera of Iridaceae in sub-Saharan Africa, 17 in tropical African and three of which are endemic there (Cyanixia, Savannosiphon and Zygotritonia). Southern Africa, defined as the area south of the Cunene-Limpopo axis, thus Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, has 34 genera of Iridaceae, 20 of them restricted to the region. The island of Socotra, part of the Arabian nation of Yemen is incuded, but Madagascar and the other Western Indian Ocean islands are not. Data for the species from Madagascar are available in the Madagascar Catalogue. The native range of a few sub-Saharan Iridaceae species extends into neighbouring area, and information on this is provided when available.

Species lists for particular countries can be obtained through the Search Builder function available on the side bar menu

Project Background and Goals 

The primary objective of the Iridaceae of sub-Saharan Africa Project is to facilitate the identification of genera and species and to provide descriptive and distributional and some ecological information about them. The information provides quick access protologues of species and where available, and digital images of herbarium materials and living plants. References to current revisions or monographs of genera are included under each genus where these are available. Species can be identified using keys to genera and to species; in larger genera keys lead first to subgenera or sections and then within these to species. All basionyms and synonyms where relevant are included. Type information is presented for each recognized species, usually under the current name rather than a basionym. The project compiles information obtained over 45 years of research and field work by Dr. Peter Goldblatt of the Missouri Botanical Garden and colleagues, notably Dr. John Manning of the South African Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbsoch, Cape Town.

The information provided on this website is directed to professional and amateur botanists, horticulturalists, and students alike. It  remains a work in progress and is continually being refined and updated with new information. Please send any comments, additions, or corrections to Peter Goldblatt (peter.goldblatt@mobot.org).

Gladiolus uysiae L. Bolus ex G.J. Lewis

© Peter Goldblatt, 2017

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