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Genus Patersonia Family Iridaceae

Description: Perennial herbs, mostly evergreen; rhizome woody, rarely corm-like.

Leaves basal or cauline, equitant, usually linear or sword-shaped. Scapes erect, terete, unbranched, but often clasped at base by innermost leaf; inflorescence capitate, enclosed by a pair of large, rigid spathe bracts enclosing 2 groups of 1–6 sessile flowers.

Flowers actinomorphic; fragile, short-lived, opening in succession on sunny days. Perianth tube filiform; outer tepals broad, spreading; inner tepals very small, erect. Stamens exserted from perianth tube; filaments ± fused. Style filiform, entire; stigma 3-lobed or almost fully fused.

Capsule cylindrical, trigonous, sessile; seeds numerous.

Photo D. Hardin

Distribution and occurrence: World: 19 species, Australia & Malesia, New Caledonia. Australia: 17 species (endemic), Qld, Vic., Tas., S.A.

Text by T. A. James & E. A. Brown (1993); edited KL Wilson (May 2016)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Plants glabrous; spathe bracts green to brown forming involucre 5–9 mm wide; seeds ovoid, black, to 2.5 mm longPatersonia fragilis
Plants more or less hairy (particularly on margins of leaves near base and on stem); spathe bracts brown to black forming involucre mostly more than 9 mm wide; seeds ovoid-cylindrical to cylindrical, brown, sometimes with a waxy bloom, mostly more than 2.5 cm long2
2Leaves cauline on erect slender stems; scapes glabrous; spathe bracts dark brown with translucent margins 2–3 mm wide; seeds arillatePatersonia glabrata
Leaves all basal; scapes pubescent, at least in upper part; spathe bracts dark brown to blackish with scarious margins 1–2 mm wide; seeds without an aril
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Patersonia sericea

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