The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Iridaceae Juss.


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IncludingGladiolaceae Rafin., Hewardiaceae Nak., Isophysidaceae Takhtajan, Spathaceae DulacExcluding Geosiridaceae

Habit and leaf form. Herbs, or shrubs (rarely). Perennial; with a basal aggregation of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal aggregations of leaves; rhizomatous, or cormous, or bulbaceous (a few). Helophytic to xerophytic. Leaves evergreen, or deciduous; alternate; usually distichous; flat, or terete; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery; sessile, or petiolate; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins, or with joined margins (exemplified in Sisyrinchium). Leaves foetid (sometimes), or without marked odour; edgewise to the stem (commonly), or with ‘normal’ orientation (with Iris exhibiting both conditions); simple; epulvinate. Lamina entire; linear, or lanceolate; parallel-veined; without cross-venules. Leaves eligulate. Lamina margins entire. Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development.

General anatomy. Accumulated starch other than exclusively ‘pteridophyte type’.

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; anomocytic.

Lamina dorsiventral, or isobilateral, or centric; with secretory cavities. Secretory cavities containing mucilage. The mesophyll not containing mucilage cells; containing calcium oxalate crystals. The mesophyll crystals solitary-prismatic. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Iris). Vessels mostly absent.

Stem anatomy. Secretory cavities present; with mucilage. Secondary thickening absent, or anomalous (in Aristea,Klattia, Nivenia, Witsenia); when present, from a single cambial ring. Xylem without vessels (usually), or with vessels (Sisyrinchium). Vessel end-walls in Sisyrinchium, scalariform and simple (mostly simple). Sieve-tube plastids P-type; type II.

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels; vessel end-walls scalariform (mostly), or scalariform and simple, or simple (Sisyrinchium).

Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowersabsent. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present (mostly), or absent. Nectar secretion from the perianth (mostly, from nectaries at the tepal bases), or from the gynoecium (septal nectaries in Ixioideae). Pollination entomophilous, or ornithophilous, or anemophilous (rarely).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles, in cymes, in spikes, in umbels, and in corymbs. The ultimate inflorescence unit (when more than one-flowered) cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences nearly always scapiflorous (but some with the inflorescence reduced to a single, almost sessile flower); terminal; panicles, thyrses, cymes, spikes — often hard to interpret; spatheate (via one or two expanded, bladeless sheaths). Flowers bracteate; small to large; regular to very irregular; when irregular, zygomorphic; 3 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic (usually). Perigone tube present (long or short).

Perianthof ‘tepals’; 6; joined; 2 whorled; isomerous; petaloid; without spots, or spotted (commonly); similar in the two whorls, or different in the two whorls (the inner sometimes much smaller); white, or yellow, or red, or purple, or violet, or blue (or blue-green).

Androecium(2–)3. Androecial members free of the perianth, or adnate (to the perianth tube); free of one another, or coherent (the filaments often united into a basal tube); when united, 1 adelphous; 1 whorled (representing the outer whorl). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens (2–)3; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth to isomerous with the perianth; alterniperianthial (opposite the outer perianth lobes). Anthers separate from one another (usually), or cohering (sometimes, e.g. Homeria spp); basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse. The endothecial thickenings spiral. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral, or isobilateral. Pollen grains aperturate (usually), or nonaperturate; 1 aperturate (usually), or 2 aperturate; sulcate (usually), or spiraperturate, or sulculate (Tia); 2-celled (in 9 genera).

Gynoecium 3 carpelled; partly petaloid (commonly), or non-petaloid. The pistil 3 celled (nearly always), or 1 celled (Isophysis). Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious; inferior (nearly always), or superior (very rarely —Isophysis). Ovary 3 locular, or 1 locular (Isophysis). The ‘odd’ carpel anterior. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (3-lobed, the lobes sometimes subdivided or often expanded and petaloid); apical. Stylar canal present. Stigmas dry type; papillate; Group II type. Placentation when unilocular (i.e. very rarely), parietal; nearly always axile. Ovules (1–)2–50 per locule (i.e. to ‘many’); arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating; persistent. Synergids pear-shaped, or hooked (sometimes with filiform apparatus). Endosperm formation nuclear.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds usually without starch. Cotyledons 1 (coleoptile-like). Embryo achlorophyllous (3/5), or chlorophyllous (Tritonia crocosmifolia); straight (small). Testa without phytomelan; membranous or thick.

Seedling.Hypocotyl internode present (usually short), or absent. Mesocotyl absent. Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll elongated, or compact; assimilatory (sometimes when elongated), or non-assimilatory; when elongated, more or less circular in t.s. Coleoptile present (e.g. Aristea), or absent. Seedling cataphylls present (e.g. Neomarica), or absent. First leaf ensiform. Primary root ephemeral.

Physiology, biochemistry. Cyanogenic, or not cyanogenic (usually). Alkaloids present (commonly), or absent. Arthroquinones detected (Gladiolus, Libertia); polyacetate derived. Proanthocyanidins present (in 3 genera), or absent (more often); when present, cyanidin and delphinidin. Flavonols present (e.g. Gladiolus), or absent (mostly); when present, kaempferol and quercetin. Ellagic acid absent. Arbutin absent. Saponins/sapogenins present, or absent. C3. C3 physiology recorded directly in Iris, Sisyrinchium. Anatomy non-C4 type (Sisyrinchium).

Geography, cytology. Holarctic, Paleotropical, Neotropical, Cape, and Australian. Temperate to tropical. Almost cosmopolitan, but lacking from frigid zones and northern Eurasia. X = 3–19 (or more).

Taxonomy.Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Liliales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot; Order Asparagales.

Species 1800. Genera 92; Ainea, Alophia, Anomatheca, Aristea,Babiana, Barnardiella, Belamcanda, Bobartia, Calydorea,Cardenanthus, Chasmanthe, Cipura, Cobana, Crocosmia,Crocus, Cypella, Devia, Dierama, Dietes, Diplarrhena,Duthiastrum, Eleutherine, Ennealophus, Ferraria, Fosteria,Freesia, Galaxia, Geissorhiza, Gelasine, Geosiris,Gladiolus, Gynandriris, Herbertia, Hermodactylus, Hesperantha,Hesperoxiphion, Hexaglottis, Homeria, Homoglossum, Iris,Isophysis, Ixia, Kelissa, Klattia, Lapeirousia,Lethia, Libertia, Mastigostyla, Melasphaerula, Micranthus,Moraea, Nemastylis, Neomarica, Nivenia, Olsynium,Onira, Orthrosanthus, Pardanthopsis, Patersonia, Pillansia,Pseudotrimezia, Radinosiphon, Rheome, Roggeveldia, Romulea,Savannosiphon, Schizostylis, Sessilanthera, Sisyrinchium,Solenomelus, Sparaxis, Sympa, Syringodea, Tapeina,Thereianthus, Tigridia, Trimezia, Tritonia, Tritoniopsis,Tucma, Watsonia, Wisenia, Zygotritonia.

Economic uses, etc. Numerous ornamentals, plus orris root (from Iris rhizomes) and saffron dye (from Crocus stigmas).


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