The Liliidae
Family Overview - Liliales

Iridaceae  - the Iris Family

Diversity:  perennial herbs with, often, showy flowers - ca. 65 genera and 1,800 species including many ornamental domesticates:   (Iris, Crocus, Gladiolus) and also the spice saffron, which is extracted from the styles of Crocus sativus.

Distribution:  Worldwide with centers of diversity in the southern hemisphere.  The Texas flora includes 7 genera and 27 species.

Floral structure:


gynoecium, especially the styles, often petaloid or otherwise modified in interesting ways

Significant features:  Similar to the Liliaceae, i.e., erect or scapose perennial herbs with linear, 'monocot-like' leaves and various shoot features of the herbaceous perennial (bud, rhizome, corm, etc.).  Leaf arrangement in this family is often equitant (two-ranked and overlapping).  Flowers usually perfect, actinomorphic, and showy with petaloid calyx like the lilies but most Iridaceae show epigyny, 3 stamens, and a capsular fruit.

Iris pallida


iris flower
flower with bracts
bracts removed
androperianth and petaloid styles

from the local flora:

herbertia
alophia
sisyrinchium
Herbertia lahue
Alophia drummondii
Sisyrinchium sp.

Crocus sativus (Overview):

More information on the Iridaceae


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