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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Iridaceae
Subfamilia: Crocoideae
Tribus: Watsonieae
Genus: Lapeirousia
Species: L. anceps – L. angustifolia – L. arenicola – L. barklyi – L. divaricata – L. dolomitica – L. exilis – L. fabricii – L. jacquinii – L. kalahariensis – L. kamiesmontana – L. littoralis – L. macrospatha – L. montana – L. odoratissima – L. oreogena – L. plicata – L. purpurascens – L. purpurea – L. pyramidalis – L. silenoides – L. simulans – L. spinosa – L. tenuis – L. verecunda – L. violacea

Lapeirousia Pourr., Hist. & Mém. Acad. Roy. Sci. Toulouse 3: 79. (1788) emend. Goldblatt & Manning (2015)

Type species: Lapeirousia fabricii (D.Delaroche) Ker Gawl., Bot. Mag. 31: t. 1246. (1809)


Ovieda Spreng., Anleit. Kenntn. Gew., ed. 2, 2(1): 258 (1817), nom. illeg.
Sophronia Licht. ex Roem. & Schult., Syst. Veg., ed. 15 bis 1: 482 (1817)
Peyrousia Poir. in G.-F.Cuvier, Dict. Sci. Nat., ed. 2, 39: 363 (1826)
Meristostigma A.Dietr., Sp. Pl. 2: 593 (1833)
Chasmatocallis R.C.Foster, Contr. Gray Herb. 127: 40 (1939)


Pourret, P.A. 1788. Histoire et Mémoires de l'Academie Royale des Sciences, Inscriptions et Belles Lettres de Toulouse 3: 79.
Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J.C. 2015. Systematics and biology of Lapeirousia, Codonorhiza, Psilosiphon and Schizorhiza in southern Africa. Strelitzia 35: 1-143. PDF Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Lapeirousia in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Aug. 10. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Lapeirousia. Published online. Accessed: Aug. 10 2020. C2020. Lapeirousia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: C2020 Aug. 10.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Lapeirousia in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.

Lapeirousia is a genus in the plant family Iridaceae. It is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, about a third of the species occurring in fynbos.

Origin of the generic name

The genus Lapeirousia was described by Pierre André Pourret in Mém. Acad. Sci. Toulouse 3 : 79 (1788); Bak. In FC. 6 : 88 (1896) in part; Goldblatt in Contrib. Bol. Herb. 4 : 1 (1972); Sölch & Roessl. in FSWA. 155 : 6 (1969). Chasmatocallis Foster in Contrib. Gray Herb. 127 : 40 (1939).[1] He named the genus in honour of his friend, the botanist Philippe-Isidore Picot de Lapeyrouse. The inconsistent spellings of that name no doubt led to the original genus name being spelt "Lapeirousia" and contributed to various subsequent misspellings of the genus in various reference sources, notably "Lapeyrousia".[2] There also has been confusion leading to unfounded claims that the genus was named after the French mariner Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, who had nothing substantial to do with matters botanical, and was unrelated to de Lapeyrouse.

Lapeirousia are cormous plants, usually small, and with deciduous leaves. The corms are small, campanulate to triangular in outline, and flat-based. The tunics comprise hard, woody layers, of which the innermost layers are entire. The leaves are basal, often solitary. They may be plane and falcate, or linear and ribbed. Various forms of scape occur; they may be either subterranean or aerial, and simple or branched. The inflorescence is a spike, sometimes contracted and fasciculate or a corymbose panicle. There are firm, green bracts, either small and subequal, or with the outer bract very large, often keeled, crisped and ribbed. The perianth may be either actinomorphic or zygomorphic; the tube short or very long. It might be slender and cylindrical, adapted to pollination by long-tongued flies, or it might be funnel-shaped. The flowers' lobes may be subequal and spreading, or unequal with upper largest petals erect, the lower three forming a lip. The stamens are symmetrically arranged. The fruit is a membranous capsule containing many small seeds, either globose or angled by pressure.[1]

About 26 species have been described from Southern Africa,[3] of which about a third are endemic to fynbos. Common names are various and regional, including painted petals, cabong, chabi, koringblom (Afrikaans for "wheat flower"). The flowers are commonly scented, though possibly only at certain times of day.

Lapeirousia anceps (L.f.) Ker Gawl.
Lapeirousia angustifolia Schltr.
Lapeirousia arenicola Schltr.
Lapeirousia barklyi Baker
Lapeirousia divaricata Baker
Lapeirousia dolomitica Dinter
Lapeirousia exilis Goldblatt
Lapeirousia fabricii (D.Delaroche) Ker Gawl.
Lapeirousia jacquinii N.E.Br.
Lapeirousia kalahariensis Goldblatt & J.C.Manning
Lapeirousia kamiesmontana Goldblatt & J.C.Manning
Lapeirousia littoralis Baker
Lapeirousia macrospatha Baker
Lapeirousia montana Klatt
Lapeirousia odoratissima Baker
Lapeirousia oreogena Schltr. ex Goldblatt
Lapeirousia plicata (Jacq.) Diels
Lapeirousia purpurascens Goldblatt & J.C.Manning
Lapeirousia purpurea Goldblatt & J.C.Manning
Lapeirousia pyramidalis (Lam.) Goldblatt
Lapeirousia silenoides (Jacq.) Ker Gawl.
Lapeirousia simulans Goldblatt & J.C.Manning
Lapeirousia spinosa (Goldblatt) Goldblatt & J.C.Manning
Lapeirousia tenuis (Goldblatt) Goldblatt & J.C.Manning
Lapeirousia verecunda Goldblatt
Lapeirousia violacea Goldblatt

Traditional and current relevance

The plants are of considerable biological and evolutionary interest because of their adaptions to particular pollinators, such as flies in the families Tabanidae, Acroceridae, Bombyliidae, and most spectacularly, Nemestrinidae.[4]

Though most species of Lapeirousia are not showy, they are elegant and often fragrant. Collectors of fynbos plants value them.

The corms of several species were important sources of food for early hunter-gatherers. The vernacular names cabong or chabi are derived from Khoisan names for the plants.[5]

Dyer, R. Allen, “The Genera of Southern African Flowering Plants”. ISBN 0 621 02854 1, 1975
Chittenden, Fred J. Ed., Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening, Oxford 1951
"Lapeirousia Pourr. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
Kearns, Carol Ann. Flies and Flowers, an Enduring Partnership. Wings, Fall, 2002
Manning, John (2008). Field Guide to Fynbos. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. ISBN 9781770072657.

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