Crocus sp.

where the rainbow rises




pronounced: eye-rid-AY-see-eye

the iris family


Iris (Ιρις) was the Greek goddess of the rainbow. The Greeks used the same word for the rainbow itself, and for the plant, referring to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species. These are perennial herbs, rarely annuals or small shrubs, with the rootstock a corm, bulb or rhizome. The leaves are usually distichous, basal or cauline, with parallel veins and closed basal sheaths. They are generally linear or ensiform. The flowers are trimerous and bisexual. The perianth is in 2 whorls; there are 6 tepals, free, or fused below in a tube. There are usually nectaries at the base of the tepals. There are mostly 3 stamens, inserted at the base of the perianth or in the perianth tube opposite the outer tepals. The anthers are 2-locular dehiscing by longitudinal slits. The ovary is inferior, usually 3-locular; the style is usually 3-branched. The fruit is a loculicidal capsule.


Photograph © Wing-Chi Poon, via Wikimedia Commons