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Genus Sparaxis

Sparaxis Ker Gawl., Ann. Bot. (König & Sims) 1: 225 (1804). The standard cyclopedia of horticulture, 1919 "SPARAXIS (Greek word referring to the torn or lacerated spathes, a character which distinguishes this genus from Tritonia). Iridaceae. WAND-FLOWER. Bulbs or corms with fibrous coating, the plants suitable for outdoor planting but grown mostly under glass.

Stems simple or slightly branched: Ivs. few, flat, sword-like or broadly linear, erect or falcate: spathes few, remote or sometimes solitary, broad-striate or frequently marked with short brown lines: fls. 1 to a spathe, sessile, rather large, yellow; perianth-tube short and slender, 6-lobed; ovary 3-celled: caps, membranaceous, ovoid or oblong, included in the spathe. About 3 species, Cape Colony, S. Afr. Sparaxis is a group of spring-blooming Cape bulbs of the Ixia tribe, with spikes of 6-petaled, more or less funnel-shaped fls. 1-2 in. across and exhibiting an extraordinary range of color and throat - markings. These plants are less popular than ixias, which they much resemble. The plants are dwarfer and more compact than ixias, usually 6-12 in. high, the spikes are shorter and fewer-fld., and the blossoms are sometimes larger. Sparaxis is essentially distinguished from Ixia and other allied genera by the subregular perianth, unilateral and arcuate stamens, and scarious lacerated spathe-valves.

Although a few plants of sparaxis are occasionally cultivated in America by bulb-fanciers, one may search through many American catalogues without finding them listed. The Dutch bulb-growers offer twenty - five distinct kinds, which is perhaps a quarter of the number of varieties of ixias in cultivation. According to J. G. Baker, there is "only one species in a broad sense, varying indefinitely in the size and coloring of the flowers." For practical purposes Baker recognizes the three species given below; of these the most important and variable is S. tricolor. Sparaxis pulcherrima of the Dutch trade is properly Dierama pulcherrima, Baker. This grows as much as 6 feet high and has pendulous bright blood-purple flowers but apparently with pale rose and perhaps other varieties (also a white variety). It is distinguished by its pendulous flowers with regular perianth, simple style-branches, equilateral stamens, and large bracts which are not laciniate. B.M. 5555. F.S. 17:1810. Gn. 20:588; 44, p. 281. G. 16:386; 29:197. G.L. 27:152. This plant is said by F. W. Burbidge to be "perhaps the most graceful of all the Cape irids." (See Vol. II, page 1007.)"

15 accepted species:

Articles about Sparaxis: Garden and Forest, 1897

References: Flores

Further Reading for Sparaxis


Library search for Sparaxis


-- BobPries - 2013-12-11
Topic revision: r14 - 26 Nov 2023, BobPries
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