Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Iridaceae

Citation: Miller, Figs. Pl. 2:184, t. 276 (1758).

Derivation: After Sir William Watson, M.D., 1715-1787, an English Professor of Botany.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Watsonias.

Large deciduous perennial herbs, dormant in summer; corm annual, depressed-globose with a tunic of coarse fibres; leaves numerous, basal, equitant, flat, sword-shaped, glabrous.

Scape erect, terete, robust; spike distichous with a straight erect axis, many-flowered, often with appressed branches from near the base; flowers sessile, actinomorphic to zygomorphic, solitary in each spathe; bracts large, paired, oblong to triangular, keelless, subequal; perianth tube more or less curved; lobes equal or subequal, hardly clawed at the base; stamens inserted on the tube, equilateral or unilateral; anthers linear, versatile; style filiform with 3 recurved branches, each 2-fid or further divided; stigmas 6 or more.

Capsule cylindric to globose, woody; seeds oblong, winged.

Distribution:  About 70 species in southern Africa and Madagascar; various species and their hybrids are in cultivation and occur as escapes, and 1 species is a widespread weed in Australia.

Biology: No text

Key to Species:
1. Bulbils developed in the lower spathes of the spike
W. bulbillifera 1.
1. Bulbils absent
2. Stamens equilateral, alternating with 3 staminodes
W. marginata 2.
2. Stamens unilateral; staminodes absent
3. Perianth brick-red; lobes 1.8-2.6 cm long, much shorter than the cylindrical tube
W. meriana 3.
3. Perianth pale to bright-pink, lobes 2.8-3.5 cm long, slightly shorter than the funnel-shaped tube.
W. pyramidata 4.

Author: Not yet available

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