T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Fairy Iris (Dietes grandiflora)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Dietes
Species: D. grandiflora
Binomial name: Dietes grandiflora
Common names: Fairy Iris, Large wild iris

Dietes grandiflora is a rhozomatous perennial plant with long, rigid, sword-like green leaves belonging to the Iridaceae family and is native to South Africa.
The flowers are large (about 100mm across) and are white with yellow nectar guides and outer tepals and violet central segments.
Dark markings are found at the base of the outer tepals. The flowers are held on erect, slender stems which are about 1m in length.
These are borne in abundance during summer, especially after rain.
The flowers are borne in mass at certain periods, often after rain in summer. The individual flowers do not last more than a couple of days.
This plant is occasionally called the "Fairy Iris" because the fragile white petals not only look like fairy wings, but also have a tendency to disappear mysteriously overnight!
Flowers are followed by 5 cm long green capsules that contain very shiny, dark brown seeds that are dispersed when the capsule splits open.