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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.



Carol A. Wilson

Rhizome [bulbs, fleshy roots]. Leaf: 2-ranked in basal fan; cauline 0–few, reduced, often bract-like, without development of distal portion. Inflorescence: ± flat cyme, flowers 1–many. Flower: perianth parts ± clawed; sepals generally wider than petals, spreading or reflexed, occasionally with white area in basal 3/4, this generally with smaller yellow area; petals erect; stamens free [(not)]; ovary inferior, style branches petal-like [(not)], arched over stamens, each with scale-like flap (with stigmas on inner surface) opposite stamen and just below 2-lobed tip (crest), with sepals forming 3, 2-lipped units [(not)]. Fruit: loculicidal capsule, rounded or triangular, chambers 3. Seed: generally compressed, pitted, light to dark brown (red).
± 160 species: generally northern temperate. (Greek: rainbow, from flower colors) [Wilson 2003 Syst Bot 28:39–46] {hort link} Hybrids between some sympatric species; Iris germanica only sp. in California with bearded sepals.
Unabridged references: [Lenz 1958 Aliso 4:1–72; Clarkson 1959 Madroño 15:115–122]

Key to Iris

1. Sepal obviously bearded ..... I. germanica

1' Sepal not obviously bearded

2. Perianth tube > 30 mm

3. Cauline leaves bract-like

4. Perianth pale cream-yellow with prominent brown-violet veins, rose-violet with darker veins, or ± white with rose veins; stigmas truncate, ± rounded, or 2-lobed ..... I. purdyi

4' Flowers pale yellow or cream with same color (or ± red) veins; stigmas triangular or tongue-shaped ..... I. tenuissima subsp. purdyiformis

3' Cauline leaves similar to basal

5. Stigmas tongue-shaped, tip rounded; rhizome 2–5 mm diam

6. Stigmas entire; perianth parts elliptic or narrowly elliptic; stem generally < 1 dm ..... I. chrysophylla

6' Stigmas finely toothed; perianth parts widely oblanceolate; stem >= 1 dm ..... I. tenuissima subsp. tenuissima

5' Stigmas triangular, tip acute; rhizome 4–9 mm diam

7. Perianth tube funnel-shaped; basal leaves >= 6 mm wide ..... I. fernaldii

7' Perianth tube abruptly inflated at top (bowl-like); basal leaves <= 6 mm wide ..... I. macrosiphon

2' Perianth tube < 30 mm

8. Stigmas 2-lobed; rhizomes 9–30 mm diam; cauline leaves bract-like for at least 2/3 length

9. Lowest bracts alternate; moist, coastal prairie or open coastal forest; flowers 3–6, lilac-purple ..... I. longipetala

9' Lowest bracts opposite; seasonally wet sites; flowers 1–2, pale lilac to ± white, or 2–9, brown, red-brown, or green

10. Basal leaves 25–35 mm wide; bracts not scarious; flowers 2–9, pale yellow to brown, red-brown, or green, veined green or red-brown ..... I. foetidissima

10' Basal leaves 3–9 mm wide; bracts generally scarious; flowers 1–2, pale lilac to ± white, veined lilac-purple ..... I. missouriensis

8' Stigmas triangular, tongue-shaped, or rounded; rhizomes 1–12 mm or 30–40 mm diam; cauline leaves bract-like or similar to basal

11. Stigmas rounded; basal leaves 20–35 mm wide; rhizomes 30–40 mm diam; wetlands ..... I. pseudacorus

11' Stigmas triangular or tongue-shaped; basal leaves 2–20 mm wide; rhizomes 1–12 mm diam; dry slopes (moist meadows)

12. Cauline leaves bract-like for at least 2/3 of length

13. Perianth tube <= 10 mm; cauline leaves overlapped; flowers generally 2 ..... I. bracteata

13' Perianth tube > 10 mm; cauline leaves generally not overlapped; flowers 1–2

14. Lowest bracts spreading; ovary triangular, clearly winged

15. Ovary clearly winged; perianth with deep maroon or ± brown veins ..... I. tenax subsp. klamathensis

15' Ovary triangular but not winged; perianth lacking dark veins ..... I. hartwegii subsp. pinetorum

14' Lowest bracts enclosing perianth tube; ovary rounded or triangular, not winged

16. Flowers generally golden yellow; ovary rounded; petals elliptic ..... I. innominata

16' Flowers generally lavender to blue, occasionally ± white; ovary triangular; petals obovate ..... I. thompsonii

12' Cauline leaves similar to basal

17. Flowers pale cream to yellow or gold-yellow, veined gold or bright yellow or not

18. Flowers 3; outer bract 9–15 cm; perianth tube 11–15 mm ..... I. hartwegii subsp. columbiana

18' Flowers 2; outer bract 6–11 cm; perianth tube 5–10 mm ..... I. hartwegii subsp. hartwegii

17' Flowers blue to lavender or purple (white or pale cream), with cream or ± white throat or not

19. Basal leaves 7–10 mm wide; flowers 2; dry slopes ..... I. hartwegii subsp. australis

19' Basal leaves 10–22 mm wide; flowers generally > 2; grassy sites

20. Stem generally branched, flowers 2/branch; coastal plains ..... I. douglasiana

20' Stem unbranched, flowers 3; wet grassy sites in s Sierra Nevada ..... I. munzii


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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