Common name. Harlequin-flowers. 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. Young stems erect or suberect. Cormous (small to medium, globose; tunic fibrous and reticulated). 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; ovate to linear (to ensiform); parallel-veined (prominent midveins in the basal leaves); without cross-venules; open or closed sheaths. Leaves eligulate; without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent (basal leaves). 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 perianth (from nectaries at the tepal bases). Entomophilous, or ornithophilous, or anemophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal; scape unbranched or few-branched; inflorescence lax, distichous to secund, few to several flowered; spatheate (2 per flower, short). Flowers sessile; bracteate (2 enclose each flower, inserted at tbe base of the ovary, spathe-like, persistent, lacerate, scarious, dry, brown-streaked; inner bract smaller and the apex shortly or deeply divided); ebracteolate; small to large; regular, or somewhat irregular (almost regular); 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; yellow (bright or pale), or purple. 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; at the base of the wider part of the perianth tube and 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 3; 2 - lobed. Placentation axile. Ovules (1–)2–50 per locule; arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy (thin-walled, membranous); dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal (from the apex). Fruit 3 celled; 20–100 seeded (many). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 1 (coleoptile-like). Embryo straight (small). Testa without phytomelan.
Etymology. From the Greek for "I tear", referring to the lanceolate sathes.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/