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Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera (J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus) D.A.Cooke
Family Iridaceae
Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera (J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus) D.A.Cooke APNI*

Synonyms: Watsonia meriana 'Bulbillifera' APNI*
Watsonia bulbillifera J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus APNI*

Description: Herb 1–2 m high; corm 4–8 cm diam., tunic of netted fibres; bulbils ovoid, acuminate in clusters of 4–12, replacing flowers in lower spathes of spike.

Basal leaves sword-shaped, 50–80 cm long, 1–4.5 cm wide, midvein prominent.

Spike usually unbranched, 20–40 cm long; flowers 3–4 c. apart; spathes triangular to oblong, 1.7–2.5 cm long, herbaceous with scarious red-brown upper portion. Flowers zygomorphic. Perianth orange to red, rarely pink or purple; tube 3.5–4.5 cm long, narrow at base, curved and expanded into a cylindrical portion 2.5–3 cm long; lobes oblong to obovate, acute or apiculate, 1.8–2.5 cm long, c. 1.3 cm wide; dorsal lobe hooded. Style longer than perianth; branches c. 0.5 cm long, 2-fid.

Capsule not seen.

Photo Karen L Wilson

Photo Karen L Wilson


Flowering: October–December

Distribution and occurrence: A locally abundant weed of roadsides, unimproved pastures and wasteland; chiefly coastal districts, inland to Lawson and Singleton areas. Native of S Afr.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *CT
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *Tas. *W.A. *S.A.
AVH map***

W. bulbillifera is a sterile triploid for which there are no records before the late 19th century. Goldblatt (1989) considered it to be best treated as a cultivar of W. meriana but recent study suggests that it is better treated as a variety of that species.

Text by KL Wilson (Oct 2015)
Taxon concept:

The single form in NSW. Characters and distribution as for the species in NSW.

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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