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Iris Family

Biology Of Irises, Native Species Of North America, Horticultural Irises, Other Economic Products

Irises are plants in the family Iridaceae which contains 1,500-1,800 species and 70-80 genera. The center of diversity of this family is in southern Africa, but species are found on all of the habitable continents. The largest groups in the family are the true irises (Iris spp.) with 200 species and gladiolus (Gladiolus spp.) with 150 species.

Many species in the iris family have large, attractive flowers. The major economic importance of this family involves the cultivation of many species in horticulture. In France and Quebec the iris is generically known as the fleur-de-lis, and it is an important cultural symbol.


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