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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Iridaceae

10. Watsonia Miller, Fig. Pl. Gard. Dict. 184, plate 276. 1758.
[name conserved]

[For William Watson, 1715–1787, British botanist]

Peter Goldblatt

Herbs, perennial, from corms. Stems simple or branched. Leaves several; blade plane, lanceolate to linear, usually coarse, fibrotic. Inflorescences spicate, erect, many-flowered; bracts green, often flushed with red, unequal, usually outer exceeding inner, apex acute, inner forked apically, firm to leathery. Flowers short-lived, odorless [rarely fragrant], zygomorphic [actinomorphic], distichous; tepals horizontal or suberect, connate into tube, orange, red, or purple [pink, rarely white], ± equal [equal]; perianth tube funnel-shaped or elongate, expanded distally into wide, horizontal upper part; stamens unilateral [symmetrical], arcuate [declinate], extended horizontally below dorsal tepal; anthers parallel [diverging]; style arching below or above filaments [central], dividing opposite to [beyond] anthers into 3 filiform branches each divided for ca. 1/2 their length, apically stigmatic. Capsules [globose to] oblong, wood-textured, rounded [acute or attenuate]. Seeds several to many, angular, 1- or 2-winged [prismatic]; seed coat light brown. x = 9.

Species 52 (1 in the flora): introduced; s Africa.

Several species of Watsonia are cultivated in the flora area where the winters are mild, especially in California; only W. meriana is truly naturalized. The following have been recorded as persisting for some years around abandoned dwellings, in cemeteries and garbage dumps, and along roads and highways: W. borbonica (Pourret) Goldblatt (both pink- and white-flowered forms), W. fourcadei J. W. Mathews & L. Bolus, and W. marginata (Linnaeus f.) Ker Gawler.


Goldblatt, P. 1989. The genus Watsonia. A systematic monograph. Ann. Kirstenbosch Bot. Gard. 17.

Lower Taxon


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