Watsonia (plant)

Last updated

Watsonia fulgens 4.jpg
Watsonia fulgens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Ixioideae
Tribe: Watsonieae
Type species
Watsonia meriana
(L.) Miller

58 species, including:
Watsonia aletroides (Burm.f.) Ker Gawl.
Watsonia amabilis Goldblatt
Watsonia amatolae Goldblatt
Watsonia angusta Ker Gawl.
Watsonia bachmannii L.Bolus
Watsonia bella N.E.Br. ex Goldblatt
Watsonia borbonica (Pourr.) Goldblatt
Watsonia borbonica subsp. ardernei (Sander) Goldblatt
Watsonia borbonica subsp. borbonica
Watsonia canaliculata Goldblatt
Watsonia coccinea (Herb. ex Baker) Baker
Watsonia confusa Goldblatt
Watsonia densiflora Baker
Watsonia distans L.Bolus
Watsonia dubia Eckl. ex Klatt
Watsonia elsiae Goldblatt
Watsonia emiliae L.Bolus
Watsonia fergusoniae L.Bolus
Watsonia fourcadei J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia galpinii L.Bolus
Watsonia gladioloides Schltr.
Watsonia humilis Mill.
Watsonia hysterantha J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia inclinata Goldblatt
Watsonia knysnana L.Bolus
Watsonia laccata (Jacq.) Ker Gawl.
Watsonia latifolia N.E.Br. ex Oberm.
Watsonia lepida N.E.Br.
Watsonia × longifolia J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia marginata (L.f.) Ker Gawl.
Watsonia marlothii L.Bolus
Watsonia meriana (L.) Mill.
Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera (J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus) D.A.Cooke
Watsonia meriana var. meriana
Watsonia minima Goldblatt
Watsonia mtamvunae Goldblatt
Watsonia obrienii V. Tibergen
Watsonia occulta L.Bolus
Watsonia paucifolia Goldblatt
Watsonia pillansii L.Bolus
Watsonia pondoensis Goldblatt
Watsonia pulchra N.E.Br. ex Goldblatt
Watsonia rogersii L.Bolus
Watsonia rourkei Goldblatt
Watsonia schlechteri L.Bolus
Watsonia spectabilis Schinz
Watsonia stenosiphon L.Bolus
Watsonia stokoei L.Bolus
Watsonia strictiflora Ker Gawl.
Watsonia strubeniae L.Bolus
Watsonia tabularis J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia transvaalensis Baker
Watsonia vanderspuyae L.Bolus
Watsonia versfeldii J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia watsonioides (Baker) Oberm.
Watsonia wilmaniae J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia wilmsii L.Bolus
Watsonia zeyheri L.Bolus


Synonyms [1]
  • MerianaTrew
  • LomeniaPourr.
  • LemoniaPers.
  • WarneriaMill. ex L.

Watsonia (bugle lily) is a genus of plants in the iris family, subfamily Crocoideae. Watsonias are native to southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland). [1] The genus is named after Sir William Watson, an 18th-century British botanist. [2]

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

Plant multicellular eukaryote of the kingdom Plantae

Plants are mainly multicellular, predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the kingdom Plantae. Historically, plants were treated as one of two kingdoms including all living things that were not animals, and all algae and fungi were treated as plants. However, all current definitions of Plantae exclude the fungi and some algae, as well as the prokaryotes. By one definition, plants form the clade Viridiplantae, a group that includes the flowering plants, conifers and other gymnosperms, ferns and their allies, hornworts, liverworts, mosses and the green algae, but excludes the red and brown algae.

Iridaceae family of plants

Iridaceae is a family of plants in order Asparagales, taking its name from the irises, meaning rainbow, referring to its many colours. There are 66 accepted genera with a total of c. 2244 species worldwide. It includes a number of other well known cultivated plants, such as freesias, gladioli and crocuses.


There are 56 accepted species in southern Africa, with two varieties and about 112 names either unresolved or regarded as synonyms. [3] All are perennial herbs growing from corms and producing erect spikes of showy flowers. Most are fynbos plants, adapted to a Mediterranean-type climate, but some occur along the eastern and inland areas of the country and adapted to a wider range of conditions, mainly continental climate with summer rainfall. Many species occur mainly in the mountains, though some occur in sandy flats and marshy areas.


A corm, bulbo-tuber, or bulbotuber is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ that some plants use to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat (perennation).

Fynbos shrubland and heathland vegetation of southwestern South Africa

Fynbos is a small belt of natural shrubland or heathland vegetation located in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. This area is predominantly winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate. The fynbos ecoregion is within the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome. In fields related to biogeography, fynbos is known for its exceptional degree of biodiversity and endemism, consisting about 80% species of the Cape floral kingdom where nearly 6,000 of them are endemic. This land has faced severe threats and still does, but due to the many economic uses conservation efforts are being made to help restore it.

Mediterranean climate climate zone

A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by rainy winters and dry summers, with less than 40 mm of precipitation for at least three summer months. While the climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, these are generally located on the western coasts of continents, between roughly 30 and 45 degrees north and south of the equator, typically between oceanic climates towards the poles, and semi-arid and arid climates towards the equator.


The most commonly cultivated species is the pink-flowered Watsonia borbonica and its white mutant 'Arderne's White'. These were crossed with Watsonia meriana and other species in the early 20th century by breeders including John Cronin in Australia and Luther Burbank in California to produce a wide range of cultivars. Watsonia has been eclipsed in popularity by Gladiolus and other bulbs, and is now neglected by the nursery industry.

<i>Watsonia borbonica</i> species of plant

Watsonia borbonica, the Cape bugle-lily, is a species of plant in the family Iridaceae that is native to South Africa.

<i>Watsonia meriana</i> species of plant

Watsonia meriana is a species of flowering plant in the iris family (Iridaceae) known by the common name bulbil bugle-lily. It is one of several Watsonia species known as wild watsonia. It is native to the Cape Provinces of South Africa, but it is well known as an ornamental plant grown in gardens for its showy spikes of flowers and an invasive species in areas where it has escaped cultivation. It is a perennial herb growing from a fibrous-coated corm and growing to a maximum height well over one meter when in flower, sometimes reaching two meters. Each corm produces three or four erect, lance-shaped leaves that measure up to 60 centimeters long by 6 wide. They have thickened midribs and margins. The inflorescence is an open spike of 8 to 25 flowers which may be any most any shade of orange to reddish or purplish. The flower is up to 8 centimeters long with a long, tubular throat and spreading tepals. The flowers sometimes yield capsule fruits which contain seed, but the plant often reproduces via bulbils that form in clusters in the axils of bracts at nodes along the peduncle. The bulbils can sprout if dropped into the soil, sometimes forming dense colonies, as can sections of corm that are chopped and dispersed by plowing or by non-intensive feeding by root-eating animals. The plant is accordingly ecologically valuable as feed to local mole-rats and to Cape porcupines

Luther Burbank American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science

Luther Burbank was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career. Burbank's varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables. He developed a spineless cactus and the plumcot.


Native to South Africa, Watsonia species were introduced as garden ornamentals to Australia in the mid-19th century and were widely grown by the 1940s.

In the South-West of Western Australia, six species have become naturalised from garden escapes along rivers, wetlands and seasonally wet ground. In places Watsonia spp. have displaced native understorey flora; concentrations of them create a fire hazard in summer. [4]

Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera is also a weed in New Zealand, Réunion and Mauritius. [5]

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Réunion Overseas region and department in France

Réunion is an overseas department and region of France and an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and 175 km (109 mi) southwest of Mauritius. As of January 2019, it had a population of 866,506.

Mauritius Island nation in the Indian Ocean

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The main Island of Mauritius is located about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The Republic of Mauritius also includes the islands of Rodrigues, Agalega and St. Brandon. The capital and largest city Port Louis is located on the main island of Mauritius.


  1. 1 2 Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. Manning, John; Goldblatt, Peter (2008). The Iris Family: Natural History & Classification. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 135–38. ISBN   0-88192-897-6.
  3. The Plant List (2010). Version 1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 1 September 2012)
  4. Environmental Weeds Action Network (Western Australia)
  5. "Wild Watsonia - Department of Primary Industry". 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-08.

Related Research Articles

<i>Amaryllis</i> genus of plants

Amaryllis is the only genus in the subtribe Amaryllidinae. It is a small genus of flowering bulbs, with two species. The better known of the two, Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of the Western Cape region of South Africa, particularly the rocky southwest area between the Olifants River Valley and Knysna. For many years there was confusion among botanists over the generic names Amaryllis and Hippeastrum, one result of which is that the common name "amaryllis" is mainly used for cultivars of the genus Hippeastrum, widely sold in the winter months for their ability to bloom indoors. Plants of the genus Amaryllis are known as belladonna lily, Jersey lily, naked lady, amarillo, Easter lily in Southern Australia or, in South Africa, March lily due to its propensity to flower around March. This is one of numerous genera with the common name "lily" due to their flower shape and growth habit. However, they are only distantly related to the true lily, Lilium. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, amaryllis means "pride".

<i>Freesia</i> genus of plants

{{taxobox |name =Freesia |image =Freesia.jpg |image_caption =Cultivated freesias |regnum =Plantae |unranked_divisio =Angiosperms |unranked_classis =Monocots |ordo =Asparagales |familia =Iridaceae |subfamilia =Ixioideae |genus =Freesia |genus_authority =Eckl. ex Klatt |type_species =Freesia refracta |type_species_authority =(Jacquin) Klatt |synonyms_ref= |synonyms=*AnomathecaKer Gawl.

<i>Crocosmia</i> genus of plants

Crocosmia (montbretia) is a small genus of flowering plants in the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, ranging from South Africa to Sudan. One species is endemic to Madagascar.

<i>Myoporum</i> genus of plants

Myoporum is a genus of flowering plants in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae. There are 30 species in the genus, eighteen of which are endemic to Australia although others are endemic to Pacific Islands, including New Zealand, and one is endemic to two Indian Ocean islands. They are shrubs or small trees with leaves that are arranged alternately and have white, occasionally pink flowers and a fruit that is a drupe.

<i>Dietes</i> genus of plants

{{taxobox |name =Dietes |image =Fortnight lily.jpg |image_caption =Dietes iridioides |regnum =Plantae |unranked_divisio =Angiosperms |unranked_classis =Monocots |ordo =Asparagales |familia =Iridaceae |subfamilia =Iridoideae |tribus =Irideae |genus =Dietes |genus_authority =Salisb. ex Klatt |type_species =Dietes compressa |type_species_authority =(Linnaeus fil.) Klatt |synonyms_ref= |synonyms=*NaronMedik. |}}

Patersonia genus of plants

Patersonia is a genus of flowering plants in the Iridaceae commonly known as native iris or native flag. It was first described as a genus in 1807 by Robert Brown. It is native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and insular Southeast Asia. The genus name is a tribute to the first Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales in Australia, William Paterson.

<i>Chasmanthe</i> genus of plants

{{taxobox |name =Chasmanthe |image =Chasmanthe_floribunda_3.jpg |image_caption =C. floribunda |regnum =Plantae |unranked_divisio =Angiosperms |unranked_classis =Monocots |ordo =Asparagales |familia =Iridaceae |subfamilia =Ixioideae |tribus =Ixieae |genus =Chasmanthe |genus_authority =N.E.Br. |type_species =Chasmanthe aethiopica |type_species_authority =(L.) N.E. Brown |}}

<i>Ferraria</i> genus of plants

{{taxobox |name =Ferraria |image =Ferraria undulata.png |image_caption =Ferraria crispa |regnum =Plantae |unranked_divisio =Angiosperms |unranked_classis =Monocots |ordo =Asparagales |familia =Iridaceae |subfamilia =Iridoideae |tribus =Irideae |genus =Ferraria |genus_authority =Burm. ex Mill. |type_species =Ferraria crispa |type_species_authority =Burman |}}

<i>Lachenalia reflexa</i> species of plant

Lachenalia reflexa is species of the genus Lachenalia endemic to lowland areas near Cape Town, South Africa.

<i>Tritonia</i> (plant) genus of plants

Tritonia is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family first described as a genus in 1802. They are naturally distributed across southern Africa, with a high concentration of species in Cape Province of western South Africa. The genus is closely related to the genus Ixia.

<i>Orthrosanthus</i> genus of plants

{{taxobox |image=Orthrosanthus laxus 01 gnangarra.JPG |image_caption=Orthrosanthus laxus |regnum =Plantae |unranked_divisio =Angiosperms |unranked_classis =Monocots |ordo =Asparagales |familia =Iridaceae |subfamilia =Iridoideae |tribus =Sisyrinchieae |genus =Orthrosanthus |genus_authority =Sweet |type_species =Orthrosanthus multiflorus |type_species_authority =Sweet |synonyms_ref= |synonyms =EveltriaRaf. |}}

<i>Gazania rigens</i> A perennial plant in the daisy family from South Africa

Gazania rigens, sometimes called treasure flower, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to southern Africa. It is naturalised elsewhere and is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant.

<i>Agapanthus praecox</i> species of plant

Agapanthus praecox is a popular garden plant around the world, especially in Mediterranean climates. It is native of Natal and Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, local names include agapant, bloulelie, isicakathi and ubani. Most of the cultivated plants of the genus Agapanthus are hybrids or cultivars of this species. It is divided into three subspecies: subsp.praecox, subsp. orientalis and subsp. minimus.

<i>Paraserianthes lophantha</i> species of plant

Paraserianthes lophantha, commonly called Albizia, Cape Leeuwin Wattle, Cape Wattle, Crested Wattle or plume albizia, is a fast-growing wattle with creamy-yellow, bottlebrush like flowers. It is a small tree that occurs naturally along the southwest coast of Western Australia, from Fremantle to King George Sound. It was first spread beyond southwest Australia by Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, who gave packets of P. lophantha seeds to early explorers under the assumption that if they planted the seeds at their campsites, the trees would indicate the routes they travelled.

<i>Dietes grandiflora</i> species of plant

Dietes grandiflora is a rhizomatous perennial plant with long, rigid, sword-like green leaves belonging to the Iridaceae family. This species is common in horticulture in its native South Africa, where it is often used in public gardens, beautification of commercial premises and along roadsides.

Ornamental bulbous plant

Ornamental bulbous plants, often called ornamental bulbs or just bulbs in gardening and horticulture, are herbaceous perennials grown for ornamental purposes, which have underground or near ground storage organs. Botanists distinguish between true bulbs, corms, rhizomes, tubers and tuberous roots, any of which may be termed "bulbs" in horticulture. Bulb species usually lose their upper parts during adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat or winter cold. The bulb's storage organs contain moisture and nutrients that are used to survive these adverse conditions in a dormant state. When conditions become favourable the reserves sustain a new growth cycle. In addition, bulbs permit vegetative or asexual multiplication in these species. Ornamental bulbs are used in parks and gardens and as cut flowers.

<i>Watsonia marginata</i> species of plant

Watsonia marginata is a species of flowering plant in the iris family known by the common name fragrant bugle-lily. It is native to the Cape Provinces of South Africa, but it is well known as an ornamental plant grown in gardens for its showy spikes of flowers. Its native range is an area with winter rainfall and dry summers. It is a perennial herb growing from a corm and growing to a maximum height well over one metre when in flower, sometimes reaching two metres. Each corm produces three or four erect leaves that measure up to 80 cm long by 5 wide. They are blue-green with thickened yellow margins. The inflorescence is a dense spike of 30 to 50 flowers which may be any shade of pink or sometimes dark red or white. The flower is actinomorphic, or radially symmetrical, unlike those of other Watsonia, which are zygomorphic. The flowers are several cm long.

<i>Iris tuberosa</i> species of plant

Iris tuberosa is a species of non-rhizomatous plant of the genus Iris, with the common names snake's-head, snake's-head iris, widow iris, black iris, or velvet flower-de-luce.


Hussey, BMJ; Keighery GJ; Cousens RD; Dodd J; Lloyd SG (1997). Western Weeds: A Guide to the Weeds of Western Australia. Perth: Plant Protection Society of WA. ISBN   0-646-32440-3. 

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.