Species Iris Group of North America
Publications* ⚜ Species Database ⚜ Spec-X ⚜ IOTM
Despite all these genera only a few types of irids have enjoyed prolonged popularity in the garden. With the help of the internet and organizations like the Pacific Bulb Society, other genera are making inroads into the mainstream. Another factor has been increased interest in locally native wildflowers. So even native plant societies are helping to promote irids.
The heavyweights are Crocus, Crocosmia, Freesia, and Gladiolus.
Crocus is a large genus consisting of 90 species. Some species come from the mild Mediterranean region. Others come from temperate climates in Europe and central Asia. This diversity provides lots of options for gardeners around the world to find something suitable for their gardens. An ever increasing number of hybrids gives us even more choices. Crocus are often categorized based on their bloom time: autumn, winter, spring. They can often be the first and/or last plants to bloom in your garden depending on which varieties you grow. The most famous species is C. sativus, commonly known as saffron.
Crocosmia is a small genus with only 8 species, but with hundreds of stunning hybrids. Although they originate from mild parts of Africa they are surprisingly hardy in colder climates. Some hybrids have proven to be invasive pests in the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, and parts of the U.S.A.
Freesia is a medium sized genus with about 16 species all of which come from southern and eastern Africa. Hybrids have been cultivated since the 19th century and today Freesia hybrids are important business for the global floral & scent industries. Double-flowered and single-flowered varieties are available in a wide range of colors.
Gladiolus is a genus that rivals Genus Iris for being widespread and containing many species. Gladiolus has roughly 260 species ranging from Madagascar to central Europe to southwestern Asia. However, almost all of these species are native to sub-Saharan Africa.
Some of the genera enjoying recently new popularity include Babiana, Chasmanthe, Dierama, Dietes, Ixia, Ferraria, Moraea, Neomarica, Romulea, Sisyrinchium, Sparaxis, and Tigridia.
If you think any of these sound intriguing, hopefully you'll try a new irid or two in your own garden.
|Crocus tommasianus photo by Jim Murrain. Crocosmia x 'High Light' photo by Jim Murrain. Freesia photo by Yael Frid. Gladiolus murielae photo by Elias Chasiotis. Babiana angustifolia photo by Rodney Barton. Chasmanthe photo by Rodney Barton. Dierama trichorhizum photo by Nhu Nguyen. Dietes sp. photo by Ken Walker. Ixia viridiflora photo by Nhu Nguyen. Ferraria crispa photo by Rodney Barton. Moraea aristata photo by Ray Mills. Neomarica eximia photo by Rodney Barton. Romulea tempskyana photo by Elias Chasiotis. Sisyrinchium sp. photo by Dennis Kramb. Sparaxis elegans photo by Elias Chasiotis. Tigridia pavonia photo by Dennis Kramb.
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