Moraea sp. longiaristata?

Since I'm using these plants in my hybridization program, I thought I should give you information on them.

These are white flowers with a varying number of blue spots on them. I received them from a friend, a very experienced grower who grew them as M. longiaristata. I puzzled over the identification, because according to the books, M. longiaristata is supposed to have a single-pointed, straight inner tepal. The species I grow has an inner tepal with three points on it, the middle one curled. That may sound like a minor distinction, but the biologists use the inner tepal as an identifier for many Moraea species.

The first photo is a plant with relatively few spots. The plant in the second photo has almost no spots. To me, it looks a bit like pictures of M. tricuspidata, but it's a very small plant and doesn't bloom late enough in the season. The flower in the third photo is heavily spotted.

Moraea sp. longiaristata?, few spots, Michael MaceMoraea sp. longiaristata?, plain, Michael MaceMoraea sp. longiaristata?, many spots, Michael Mace

The first photo shows how small the flowers are, while the second shows the curled, three-lobed inner tepal. The third is another view of that hypnotically spotted flower.

Moraea sp. longiaristata?, Michael MaceMoraea sp. longiaristata?, inner tepal, Michael MaceMoraea sp. longiaristata?, many spots, Michael Mace

For comparison, you can see some verified photos of M. longiaristata in the wild here.

I thought these might be M. unguiculata, which has a curled inner tepal. I posted some of the photos below to iSpot, a site dedicated to nature observation in South Africa. The answer I got from the Moraea experts there is that this might actually be M. longiaristata, but could also be M. algoensis, or perhaps a hybrid between the two species.

For my own records, I'm going to leave it marked as "M. longiaristata?" because I trust the grower who gave it to me. But I'll be careful not to mix it with the species (if I ever get the confirmed species).

By the way, if you have any ideas on its identification, please post a comment below.

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Page last modified on May 17, 2013, at 10:26 PM