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Vascular Plants of California
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Watsonia meriana

Higher Taxonomy
Family: IridaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: IRIS FAMILY
Habit: [(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.
Genera In Family: +- 65 genera, +- 2050 species: worldwide, especially Africa; many cultivated (e.g., Crocus, Dietes, Freesia, Gladiolus, Iris, Sisyrinchium). Note: Gladiolus italicus Mill., Gladiolus tristis L. are urban weeds. Sparaxis grandiflora (D. Delaroche) Ker Gawl., Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl. are waifs.
eFlora Treatment Author: Peter Goldblatt, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: WatsoniaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Corm depressed, cover fibrous. Inflorescence: spike, branched below or not; flowers generally +- 2-ranked, flower bracts green, leathery. Flower: radial or generally bilateral; perianth funnel- or trumpet-shaped, tube curved, lobes +- equal or unequal, oblong or lanceolate; style branches divided +- to middle, thread-like. Fruit: generally oblong. Seed: generally winged at 1 or both ends.
Species In Genus: +- 50 species: southern Africa. Etymology: (Sir William Watson, English botanist-physician, 1715--1787) Note: Many species cultivated as ornamental.
Reference: Goldblatt 1989 Ann Kirstenbosch Bot Gard 17:1--148
Watsonia meriana (L.) Mill.
Stem: 1--1.5 m. Leaf: +- 5--6, < 60 cm, < 6 cm wide. Inflorescence: 10--15-flowered, +- open. Flower: perianth 6--7 cm, lobes +- 2.5 cm, oblong to obovate.
Ecology: Uncommon, but sometimes locally abundant. Disturbed roadsides, fields; Elevation: < 50 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, CCo; Distribution Outside California: native to southern Africa. Flowering Time: May--Jul Note: Reproduces by bulblets, can be invasive.
Synonyms: Watsonia bulbillifera J.W. Mathews & L. Bolus
Jepson eFlora Author: Peter Goldblatt
Reference: Goldblatt 1989 Ann Kirstenbosch Bot Gard 17:1--148
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

Previous taxon: Watsonia marginata
Next taxon: Juncaceae

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Citation for this treatment: Peter Goldblatt 2012, Watsonia meriana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 27, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 27, 2022.

Watsonia meriana
click for enlargement
© 2011 Vernon Smith

More photos of Watsonia meriana in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Watsonia meriana:
NCo, CCo
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).