Botanist's Lens: Multiples of Three, Irradiant Iridales

Crocus sps.

Habit of a plant, number of plant parts, texture, preferred ecosystems and many other specifics are shared characteristics within plant family members.

Iridales belonging to Iridaceae family are known to be found in all types of habitats except in the sea. 3 stamens, 3 petals, 3 calyx, 3 tepals, 3 seed capsules, all in multiples of 3 is an easy characteristic to identify this family. Mostly all of the Iridaceae family flowers are similar to Lilies, but the biggest difference is that in Iridaceae, the leaves are positioned at the base of the plant. Consisting of about 70 genera and about 1800 species, this family has a wide variety of flowers, all with stunning irradiance.

Crocus in the woodland gardens

Turning the bare ground irradiant right now in the gardens are the stunning white and purple Crocus species. Autumn, winter, or spring is the best time to enjoy the crocus members. They are native to woodlands and meadows. The leaves are grass like with a distinct white strip in the center, and the flowers are cup shaped, all parts in multiples of 3. Most spring blooming crocus are hybrids of Crocus vernus. Crocus planted in protected spots can bloom earlier than the ones in open lawns, they enjoy full sun and good drainage.

Spring crocus sps.

Another Iridaceae family member that loves full sun, good drainage and can make any garden irradiant are the Iris species. To get the roots established well in zone 7-8, plant them in September - October in the previous year, but potted hybrids can be planted in spring as well for summer blooms in the same year. Irises are one perennial that can be enjoyed as a statement plant, layered cottage garden plant, or container plant in regular gardens beds or rocks gardens. Choices are ample and colors even more. The most important aspect is to make sure they get at least 6-8 hrs of full sun and a location that has a natural slope that allows good drainage.

Irises sps.

Interestingly, Iridaceae family members also have phytochemicals that have significant value in herbal medicine. Many Iridaceae species also have high commercial value, including ornamental cut flowers and 'saffron spice' that comes from Crocus sativus. Iridaceae members also include Crocosmia, Gladioli, Freesia and the gorgeous Belamcanda. All with stunning colors to enjoy form spring to summer. These perennials can be relied on year after year for stunning irradiance with each and every flower.

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