Freesia Klatt
Linnaea 34:672 (1865)

Name Status: Current
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Scientific Description
J. Gathe, Thursday 8 September 2016

Common name. Freesias. Family Iridaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (small); evergreen, or deciduous. Perennial (annual leaves and flowers). Leaves basal and cauline (mostly basal). Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves; to 0.1–0.4 m high; cormous (small, ovoid or conical or globular; tunic of netted fibres). Helophytic to xerophytic. Leaves alternate; distichous; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves foetid, or without marked odour; edgewise to the stem, or with ‘normal’ orientation; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades entire; flat; linear, or lanceolate; narrowly elliptic to ovate, or linear (to ensiform); parallel-veined (prominent midvein); without cross-venules; open or closed sheath. Leaves eligulate; without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present, or absent. Nectar secretion from the gynoecium (septal nectaries). Entomophilous, or ornithophilous, or anemophilous.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal; inflorescence 3–8 flowered, usually dense, horizontal or flexuose; spatheate (via expanded, bladeless sheaths). Flowers sessile; bracteate (2 enclose each flower, persistent, herbaceous or membranous, pale, dry, scarious, inserted at the base of the ovary; inner bract bifid and enclosed by the outer bract, spathe-like; outer bract entire). Bracts persistent. Flowers ebracteolate; small to large; regular, or very irregular; when irregular, zygomorphic; 3 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Perigone tube present. Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 -whorled; isomerous; petaloid; without spots, or spotted; similar in the two whorls, or different in the two whorls; green (to yellow), or purple (markings). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 3. Androecial members adnate; all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled (representing the outer whorl). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 3; all more or less similar in shape; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth to isomerous with the perianth; on the perianth tube at the base of the widest part, opposite the outer segments; alterniperianthial (opposite the outer perianth lobes). Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse. Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium partly petaloid, or non-petaloid; syncarpous; synstylovarious; inferior. Ovary plurilocular; 3 locular. The ‘odd’ carpel anterior. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 6. Placentation axile. Ovules (1–)2–50 per locule; arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal (from the apex). Fruit 3 celled; few. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 1 (coleoptile-like). Embryo straight (small). Testa without phytomelan.

Etymology. After F. H. T. Freese (d.1876), a fellow student of C. F. Ecklon who proposed the name.

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine (2002). Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 1, introduction, keys, ferns to monocotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study. Canberra.
  • Australia. Bureau of Flora and Fauna (1986). Flora of Australia. Volume 46, Iridaceae to Dioscoreaceae. Australian Govt. Pub. Service. Canberra.