Mystery Iridaceae from the former Transvaal, SA
Mon, 21 May 2007 06:08:46 PDT
Hi Pieter,
My immediate thought when reading your description is Aristea. Maybe this will direct you to the species. Did the spent flowers curl up into a tight coil? 
Marilyn Daly
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sat, 19 May 2007 5:20 PM
Subject: [pbs] Mystery Iridaceae from the former Transvaal, SA

Dear group,

I am hoping someone can help me identify a species of Iridaceae I have
sighted growing on the Magaliesberg Mountains in the former Transvaal
province of South Africa (now Gauteng).

Unfortunately I do not have a photo, but I hope my description will be
sufficient to at least point me to the right genus.

The plants were growing on a north facing slope, in crevices on a rock sheet
which has some water seepage after rains. The plants were in flower during
January (mid summer) and seeds where ripe by April. The flowers were
approximately 2 cm in diameter and of a lilac-blue colour. The most striking
feature was the multiple branched inflorescences which were about 30 cm tall
and were in flower for 2-3 weeks.

I can not recall how the leaves looked, but they were not longer than the
inflorescence at time of flowering. There was a whole colony of them and not
just a few scattered individuals.

My first thought was Moraea, but I can't find anything similar in, The
Moraea's of Southern Africa, by Goldblatt.

Any help, advice, suggestions etc. are most welcome!


Pieter van der Walt
South Africa

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