Description: Large perennial herbs with annual leaves and flowers; corm depressed globose, tunic coarsely fibrous.
Leaves basal and cauline, sword-shaped, tough, fibrous, glabrous. Scape erect, robust; inflorescence a spike, distichous; spathe bracts stiff, striate; flowers numerous, solitary in each spathe.
Flowers actinomorphic to zygomorphic. Perianth tube curved, slender below, abruptly widened; lobes ± equal, usually shorter than tube. Stamens usually on 1 side of the style. Style filiform; branches terete, recurved, 2-fid, rarely further divided.
Capsule woody, globose to cylindrical; seeds oblong, angular to winged.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 52 species, southern Africa. Australia: 6 species (naturalized), N.S.W., Qld, Vic., S.A., W.A.
Many species and their hybrids are in cultivation, several are naturalized locally and W. meriana is a widespread weed,which is a declared noxious weed in Vic. and S.A.
Text by T. A. James & E. A. Brown (1993)
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Bulbils developed in lower spathes of inflorescence; flowers 3–4 cm apart, mostly orange-coloured to red||Watsonia meriana|
|Bulbils absent; flowers 2–2.5 cm apart, pink to mauve||Watsonia borbonica|