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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Iridaceae

2. Olsynium Rafinesque, New Fl. 1: 72. 1836.

Grass widow [said by Rafinesque to mean hardly united, alluding to the stamens]

Anita F. Cholewa & Douglass M. Henderson†

Herbs, perennial, strongly cespitose, rootstock indistinct. Stems simple, terete. Leaves 2–4, cauline, alternate, reduced basally; blade basally clasping or terete. Inflorescences rhipidiate, 1–5-flowered; spathes 2, green, leaflike, unequal, apex acute or, rarely, obtuse. Flowers not fragrant, actinomorphic; tepals distinct, reddish purple to magenta, occasionally pink or white, not clawed, ± equal; stamens symmetrically arranged; filaments connate to 1/2 their length; anthers parallel, not appressed to style branches; style branches 3, filiform, short, extending between anthers. Capsules globose to obovoid or broadly turbinate, ± smooth to distended around seeds, apex broadly rounded, basal 0.2 mm of styles sometimes persistent. Seeds many, obconic, angular; seed coat brown, coarsely rugulose. x = 32.

Species 12 (1 in the flora): North America, South America.


Goldblatt, P., P. J. Rudall, and J. E. Henrich. 1990. The genera of the Sisyrinchium alliance (Iridaceae: Iridoideae): Phylogeny and relationships. Syst. Bot. 15: 497–510. Henderson, D. M. 1972. A Biosystematic Study of the Genus Sisyrinchium (Iridaceae) in the Pacific Northwest. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Washington.

Lower Taxa


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