Large wild iris (Dietes grandiflora) is also known as fairy iris, native iris or African iris. The Chinese names are 鳶尾科 or 愛麗絲. It is a perennial plant that grow from creeping rhizomes (underground stem) or from seeds.
They have long, rigid, sword-like green leaves belonging to the Iridaceae family. This species is native to South Africa, common in horticulture and planted in gardens and along roadsides.
They flower in late spring and summer. The flowers are white marked with yellow and violet.
The petals and sepals are fused into a perianth with 6 petaloid segments arranged into 2 whorls. The outer whorls is commonly known as ‘falls’ while the inner whorl usually standing more upright, is known as ‘standards’. Dark markings made up of tiny yellow hairs are present on the outer whorl.
There are 3 stamens. Each stamen is situated behind the lilac coloured ‘petaloid stigma’.
The stigma is modified into lilac coloured petaloid structures. The ovary are below the perianth. This arrangement is known as ‘inferior ovary’. The other floral parts are situated above the ovary, they are epigynous to the inferior ovary.
The ovary has 3 carpels (chambers) with ovules.
The flowers are insect pollinated. After pollination, fertilization occurs. The male cells of the pollen grains fuse with the female egg cells in the ovules. Each fertilized egg develops into a baby plant inside the developing ovule. The ovules become seeds and the ovary become a capsule like fruit.
Dark brown seeds are dispersed after they matured.
African Iris grow fast and can commonly get overcrowded. In some places, it is regarded to an endemic plant or a pest.
Chinese paintings of flowers that are related to or look like iris