Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • 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 with fibrous covering
Stems branched or not
Inflorescence: spike, 1-sided, axis bent ± 90° near lowest flower; flowers ± erect, only on upper side of axis, each subtended by 2 membranous bracts
Flower often fragrant; perianth funnel-shaped, tube narrow, upper-middle lobe unlike others; stamens free, generally included in tube; style branches each 2-branched
Seeds many
Species in genus: ± 20 species: s Africa
Etymology: (Friedric H.T. Freese, German physician-botanist, 1795–1876)
Reference: [Brown 1935 J S Africa Bot 1:1–31]
Several species and hybrids cultivated as ornamental.


F. alba (G.L. Mey.) Gumbl.

Stem generally branched, < 20 cm
Leaf 5–15 cm, 5–10 mm wide
Flower: perianth < 5 cm, < 3 cm wide at top, colors varied, lobes spreading
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed urban, coastal areas
Elevation: < 50 m.
Bioregional distribution: Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast
Distribution outside California: native to s Africa

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