IRIDACEAE (Iris Family)
Plants perennial herbs with rhizomes or bulbs. Leaves alternate or all basal,
mostly 2-ranked, lacking petioles, the leaf blades flat or folded
longitudinally, the bases forming open sheaths. Veins parallel, a well-defined
midvein lacking. Inflorescences panicles, umbel-like clusters, racemes, spikes,
or 1-flowered, the nodes and the flowers or flower clusters with spathelike
bracts, these green, white, colored, or transparent. Flowers perfect, radially
symmetric (bilaterally symmetric elsewhere), with 3 sepals and 3 petals, these
similar or dissimilar, the sepals usually colored. Stamens 3, the filaments
usually fused basally. Ovary 1 per flower, inferior, with 3 locules. Styles
3-lobed. Fruits capsules, usually with numerous flattened or globose seeds.
Eighty to 92 genera, 1,500–1,850 species, worldwide.
Flowering specimens of species of Iridaceae are separable from those of the
Liliaceae by the combination of an inferior ovary and 3 rather than 6 stamens.