Freesia alba

(G. L. Meyer) Gumbleton
Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 19: 392. 1896.
Basionyms: Freesia refracta var. alba G. L. Meyer Z. Schweiz. Gartenbauver. 1: 37, plate 3. 1881
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 406. Mentioned on page 405.

Plants (5–)12–40 cm. Stems erect, simple or branched, minutely pubescent. Leaves (4–)6–8, erect or inclined; blades slightly shorter than to ± equaling spike. Spikes horizontal, (2–)4–6(–8)-flowered; spathes 5–8 mm, outer usually longer than inner, firm-textured. Flower strongly scented, funnel-shaped; perianth tube very gradually flared, distal portion (15–)20–40 mm, basal portion slender, 6–12 mm; tepals spreading, white, often with yellow markings on lower tepals, tepals and tube flushed with purple abaxially, oblong, 15–18; filaments included, 15–25 mm; anthers 6–9 mm, unilateral, sometimes parallel; ovary 2–3 mm; style branching opposite anther apices. Capsules ca. 10 mm, lightly papillose. Seeds ca. 2 mm diam.

Phenology: Flowering mainly Mar.
Habitat: Roadsides, abandoned gardens, grassy slopes
Elevation: 50 m


Introduced; Calif., South Africa.


Freesia alba often has been confused with F. refracta in older literature, and consequently the latter has been erroneously listed in regional floras in North America. Freesia refracta is rarely cultivated; F. alba and cultivars derived from crosses between it and other species are widely grown, as both ornamentals and cut flowers.

Selected References


Lower Taxa