Crocosmia

Planchon
Fl. Serres Jard. Eur. 7: 161. 1851.
Etymology: Greek krokos, crocus, and osme, scent, because the dried flowers boiled in water smell like the spice saffron obtained from that plant
Synonyms: Curtonus N. E. Brown
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 402. Mentioned on page 349.

Herbs, perennial, from corms. Stems usually branched, branching often strongly divaricate. Leaves several, forming fan; blade plane [or plicate], ensiform. Inflorescences spicate, axes inclined to ± horizontal, 4–8-flowered[–many-flowered]; bracts orange to reddish [green], unequal, outer bract usually exceeding inner, inner bifid, firm textured. Flowers odorless, zygomorphic [actinomorphic]; tepals connate into tube, orange to red, subequal [unequal], outer tepals slightly larger than inner with dorsal largest [dorsal tepal much larger than others]; stamens unilateral; perianth tube funnel-shaped [nearly cylindric]; anthers parallel [radially disposed]; style arching over filaments [central], dividing into 3 filiform branches, usually notched apically [undivided]. Capsules globose, 3-lobed, cartilaginous. Seeds 2–4 per locule, globose [compressed]; seed coats hard, shiny or matte. x = 11.

Distribution

Introduced; sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar.

Discussion

Species 9 (1 in the flora).

In addition to Crocosmia ×crocosmiiflora, now naturalized, C. paniculata (Klatt) Goldblatt and C. masonorum (L. Bolus) N. E. Brown are grown in gardens. They may readily be distinguished by their broad, plicate leaves.

An artificial hybrid between two southern African species, Crocosmia aurea (Pappe ex Hooker f.) Planchon and C. pottsii (Macnab ex Baker) N. E. Brown, is now widely naturalized in the Neotropics, Madagascar, and locally in the Pacific Islands.

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