Watsonia

Miller

Fig. Pl. Gard. Dict., 184, plate 276. 1758

Etymology: For William Watson, 1715–1787, British botanist
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 401. Mentioned on page 349, 402.

Herbs, perennial, from corms. Stems simple or branched. Leaves several; blade plane, lanceolate to linear, usually coarse, fibrotic. Inflorescences spicate, erect, many-flowered; bracts green, often flushed with red, unequal, usually outer exceeding inner, apex acute, inner forked apically, firm to leathery. Flowers short-lived, odorless [rarely fragrant], zygomorphic [actinomorphic], distichous; tepals horizontal or suberect, connate into tube, orange, red, or purple [pink, rarely white], ± equal [equal]; perianth tube funnel-shaped or elongate, expanded distally into wide, horizontal upper part; stamens unilateral [symmetrical], arcuate [declinate], extended horizontally below dorsal tepal; anthers parallel [diverging]; style arching below or above filaments [central], dividing opposite to [beyond] anthers into 3 filiform branches each divided for ca. 1/2 their length, apically stigmatic. Capsules [globose to] oblong, wood-textured, rounded [acute or attenuate]. Seeds several to many, angular, 1- or 2-winged [prismatic]; seed coat light brown. x = 9.

Distribution

Introduced; s Africa.

Discussion

Species 52 (1 in the flora).

Several species of Watsonia are cultivated in the flora area where the winters are mild, especially in California; only W. meriana is truly naturalized. The following have been recorded as persisting for some years around abandoned dwellings, in cemeteries and garbage dumps, and along roads and highways: W. borbonica (Pourret) Goldblatt (both pink- and white-flowered forms), W. fourcadei J. W. Mathews & L. Bolus, and W. marginata (Linnaeus f.) Ker Gawler.

Lower Taxa