Iris Family

Mostly perennial herbs, very rarely subshrubs with a woody base, or annuals. Rootstock a rhizome, corm or bulb. Leaves simple, parallel-veined, tough and fibrous; usually distichous and folded so that the upper surface disappears, linear to sword-shaped with closed basal sheaths. Flowers bisexual, terminal, solitary or more often in a spike or compound cyme, each flower or floral unit (rhipidium) within a spathe of 2 opposed bracts. Perianth of 2 similar or differentiated whorls of 3 segments, free or joined in a tube. Stamens 3 (2 in Diplarrena) opposite the outer perianth segments, free or joined; anthers 2-chambered, opening by slits. Ovary inferior (superior in Isophysis), with 3 chambers (1 in Hermodactylis) and many ovules attached to the axis; style with 3 branches or stigma lobes. Fruit a capsule, opening from the apex; seeds 1-many, sometimes with an aril.

David Cooke.

Rarely cultivated genera include:

Calydorea A.D. Herb. as C. amabilis (Ravenna) Goldblatt &Henrich from S and C America with petals narrow, deep blueviolet, black-spotted on lower half, the outer lanceolate, twisted like propeller blades. Syn. Catila amabilis Ravenna.

IsophysisT. Moore, Eidelweiss, is a sub-alpine plant with dull purple flowers (rarely white) and superior ovary (only species I. tasmanica (Hook.) T. Moore, endemic to Tasmania).

Pardanthopsis Lenz with a finely branched inflorescence of spotted Iris-like flowers (only species P. dichotoma (Pallas) Lenz in N Asia).

77 genera and about 1640 species, in temperate regions of both Hemispheres but most numerous in southern Africa.

Many species are cultivated as ornamentals, with Freesia, Iris and Gladiolus particularly important in the cut-flower trade.The spice saffron is obtained from Crocus sativus.

Perennials; basal leaves erect, 2 ranked, sword-shaped; 6 perianth lobes; 3 stamens; inferior ovary.

Innes (1985), Goldblatt (1990). Bulletin of the American Iris Society, Hannibal, New York.

Source: Cooke, D. (2005). Iridaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Asparagales
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
genus        Anomatheca Ker Gawl.
genus        Aristea Aiton
genus        Babiana Ker Gawl.
genus        Belamcanda Adans.
genus        Chasmanthe N.E.Br.
genus        Crocosmia Planch.
genus        Crocus L.
genus        Cypella Herb.
genus        Dierama K.Koch & C.
genus        Dietes Klatt
genus        Diplarrena Labill.
genus        Ferraria Miller
genus        Freesia Klatt
genus        Galaxia Thunb.
genus        Geissorhiza Ker Gawl.
genus        Gelasine Herb.
genus        Gladiolus L.
genus        Gynandriris Parl.
genus        Herbertia Sweet
genus        Hermodactylus Mill.
genus        Hesperantha Ker Gawl.
genus        Hexaglottis Vent.
genus        Homeria Vent.
genus        Iris L.
genus        Ixia L.
genus        Libertia Spreng.
genus        Melasphaerula Ker Gawl.
genus        Moraea Mill.
genus        Neomarica Sprague
genus        Orthrosanthus Sweet
genus        Patersonia R.Br.
genus        Rigidella Lindl.
genus        Romulea Maratti
genus        Schizostylis Backh. & Harv.
genus        Sisyrinchium L.
genus        Sparaxis Ker Gawl.
genus        Tigridia Juss.
genus        Tritonia Ker Gawl.
genus        Watsonia Mill.