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Key to families | Table of families and genera

Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.



Peter Goldblatt, except as noted

[(Annual), shrub], perennial herb generally from [bulb], corm, or rhizome. Stem: generally erect, generally ± round in ×-section. Leaf: generally basal (few cauline), 2-ranked, ± sword-shaped, blade edge-wise to stem, with midvein or not; bases overlapped, sheathing. Inflorescence: generally ± terminal; spikes, umbel-like cymes, or flowers 1; flowers in spikes or 1 subtended by 2 subopposite flower bracts; umbel-like cymes enclosed by 2 subopposite, generally large, leaf-like inflorescence bracts, including various flower bracts. Flower: bisexual (unisexual), radial, with stamens erect, enclosing style, or bilateral, with stamens, style to 1 side, stamens not enclosing style; perianth radial, parts free or generally fused into tube above ovary, generally petal-like, in 2 series of 3, outer ± like inner (or not, in Iris, parts in that genus called sepals, petals), upper ± like lower or not; stamens 3, attached at base of outer 3 perianth parts or in tube, generally free; ovary inferior [(superior)], [(1)]3-chambered, placentas axile [(parietal)], style 1, branches 3, entire to 2-branched, thread- or petal-like with stigma abaxial, proximal to tip. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal. Seed: few to many.
± 65 genera, ± 2050 species: worldwide, especially Africa; many cultivated (e.g., Crocus, Dietes, Freesia, Gladiolus, Iris, Sisyrinchium). [Goldblatt & Manning 2008 The Iris Family: Natural History and Classification. Timber Press] Gladiolus italicus Mill., Gladiolus tristis L. are urban weeds. Sparaxis grandiflora (D. Delaroche) Ker Gawl., Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl. are waifs. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Key to Iridaceae

1. Style branches petal-like, conspicuous, opposite stamens; outer perianth parts (sepals) unlike inner (petals); stamens free ..... IRIS

1' Style branches thread-like, not conspicuous, generally alternate stamens; outer perianth parts ± like inner; stamens free or united at base

2. Flowers in umbel-like cymes

3. Perianth parts not alike, outer sepal-like, white adaxially, ± green abaxially, inner petal-like, generally white ..... [Libertia formosa]

3' Perianth parts ± alike, red-purple to magenta or ± blue, violet, yellow, occasionally pink or white

4. Stem not winged; perianth red-purple to magenta, occasionally pink or white, generally 18–33 mm; filaments fused ± in basal 1/2 ..... OLSYNIUM

4' Stem winged; perianth red-purple, ± blue, violet, yellow (white), generally < 18 mm; filaments ± completely free to ± completely fused ..... SISYRINCHIUM

2' Flowers not in umbel-like cymes

5. Flowers 1 on peduncles; plant generally < 10 cm; leaves attached below ground, ± round to widely elliptic in ×-section, generally 4-grooved ..... ROMULEA

5' Flowers in spikes or panicles of spikes; plant generally > 20 cm; leaves attached below and above ground, flat with prominent midvein or cross-shaped in ×-section

6. Style branches divided ± to middle

7. Flower stem bent ± 90° below lowest flower, spike 1-ranked; leaf axils without bulblets after flower ..... [Freesia leichtlinii subsp. alba]

7' Flower stem erect, spike 2-ranked; leaf axils with bulblets after flower or not ..... WATSONIA

6' Style branches entire or notched at tip

8. Flower bracts membranous or papery and crinkled, outer 3-lobed to -toothed or often cut into lance-linear segments in upper 1/2 or at tip, inner 2-lobed or -toothed

9. Flower bracts membranous, outer 3-lobed to -toothed; stamens attached at mouth ..... [Ixia maculata]

9' Flower bracts papery, crinkled, outer often cut into lance-linear segments in upper 1/2 or at tip; stamens attached in tube ..... [SPARAXIS]

8' Flower bracts green, soft or leathery, outer entire, inner notched at tip

10. Perianth tube abruptly enlarged above base, lobes unequal, upper 1 > lower 5; inflorescence generally an erect spike (panicle) ..... CHASMANTHE

10' Perianth tube not abruptly enlarged above base, lobes subequal; inflorescence generally an arched spike or panicle of spikes ..... CROCOSMIA


Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, [accessed on month, day, year]
Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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