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Genus Watsonia Family Iridaceae

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.


Habit
Photo Karen L Wilson

Flower
Photo Karen L Wilson

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)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Bulbils developed in lower spathes of inflorescence; flowers 3–4 cm apart, mostly orange-coloured to redWatsonia meriana
Bulbils absent; flowers 2–2.5 cm apart, pink to mauveWatsonia borbonica

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