Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Elizabeth McClintock, except as specified

Perennial, bulbed, cormed, or rhizomed
Stem generally erect
Leaves generally basal (a few cauline), 2-ranked, ± linear, generally grass-like, generally sharply folded along midrib; bases overlapping, sheathing
Inflorescence: spike, raceme, panicle, ± terminal, or flowers solitary; bracts ± like leaf bases, sheathing
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial; hypanthium fused to ovary; perianth parts generally fused into tube above ovary, generally petal-like, in 2 series of 3, outer (sepals) generally ± like inner (petals); stamens 3, generally attached to sepals, filaments fused below into a tube or not; ovary inferior, 3-chambered, placentas generally axile, style 1, each of 3 branches entire or 2-branched or -lobed, petal-like or not, with stigma on under surface instead of at tip
Fruit: capsule, loculicidal
Seeds few–many
Genera in family: 80 genera, ± 1500 species: worldwide, especially Africa; many cultivated (e.g., Iris, Gladiolus, Crocus, Freesia ).


Perennial; corms round to ± flat, with fibrous covering, often produced by rhizomes
Stem branched or not
Inflorescence: generally panicle of spikes, generally > leaves; flowers each subtended by 2 bracts
Flower: perianth funnel-shaped, orange to brick-red, tube generally curved, lobes spreading, ± equal; stamens free, exserted from tube; style ± > stamens, branches each entire
Seeds generally 3–6, some aborted
Species in genus: ± 7 species: s Africa
Etymology: (Greek: saffron, from smell of dried flowers in warm water)
Reference: [Kostelijk 1984 Plantsman 4:246–253; DeVos 1984 J S Africa Bot 50:463–502]

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