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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: Watsonia
Subgenera: W. subg. Neuberia – W. subg. Watsonia

Watsonia Mill. (1758), nom. cons.

Type species: W. meriana (L.) Mill.


Meriana Trew, Pl. Select. t: 40. 1754, nom. rej.

Lemonia Pers., Syn. Pl. 1: 44. 1805 [1].
Type species: non design.
Lomenia Pourr., Mém. Acad. Sci. Toulouse 3: 74. 1788.
Type species: L. borbonica Pourr.
Neuberia Eckl., Topogr. Verz. Pflanzensamml. Ecklon 37. 1827, nom. nud.
Type species: non design.
Warneria Mill. ex L., Linn. Corresp. 1: 114. 1821 [2], nom. illeg. non Mill. (1759)
Type species: non design.

Species overview

W. aletroides – W. amabilis – W. amatolae – W. angusta – W. bachmannii – W. bella – W. borbonica – W. canaliculata – W. coccinea – W. confusa – W. densiflora – W. distans – W. dubia – W. elsiae – W. emiliae – W. fergusoniae – W. fourcadei – W. galpinii – W. gladioloides – W. humilis – W. hysterantha – W. inclinata – W. knysnana – W. laccata – W. lamarckii – W. latifolia – W. lepida – W. marginata – W. marlothii – W. meriana – W. minima – W. mtamvunae – W. occulta – W. paucifolia – W. pillansii – W. pondoensis – W. pulchra – W. rogersii – W. rourkei – W. schlechteri – W. spectabilis – W. stenosiphon – W. stokoei – W. strictiflora – W. strubeniae – W. tabularis – W. transvaalensis – W. vanderspuyae – W. versfeldii – W. watsonioides – W. wilmaniae – W. wilmsii – W. zeyheri

Nothospecies: W. × longifolia

Watsonia Boehm. (1760)= Byttneria Loefl. (1758)


Miller, P. 1758. Fig. Pl. Gard. Dict. 2: 184.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2017. Watsonia in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Oct. 17. Reference page.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Watsonia in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.

Vernacular names
English: Bugle-lily

Watsonia (bugle lily) is a genus of plants in the family Iridaceae, subfamily Crocoideae. Watsonias are native to southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland).[1] The genus is named after Sir William Watson, an 18th-century British botanist.[2]


There are 56 accepted species in southern Africa, with two varieties and about 112 names either unresolved or regarded as synonyms.[3] All are perennial herbs growing from corms and producing erect spikes of showy flowers. Most are fynbos plants, adapted to a Mediterranean-type climate, but some occur along the eastern and inland areas of the country and adapted to a wider range of conditions, mainly continental climate with summer rainfall. Many species occur mainly in the mountains, though some occur in sandy flats and marshy areas.

The most commonly cultivated species is the pink-flowered Watsonia borbonica and its white mutant 'Arderne's White'. These were crossed with Watsonia meriana and other species in the early 20th century by breeders including John Cronin in Australia and Luther Burbank in California to produce a wide range of cultivars. Watsonia has been eclipsed in popularity by Gladiolus and other bulbs, and is now neglected by the nursery industry.

Native to South Africa, Watsonia species were introduced as garden ornamentals to Australia in the mid-19th century and were widely grown by the 1940s.

In the South-West of Western Australia, six species have become naturalised from garden escapes along rivers, wetlands and seasonally wet ground. In places Watsonia spp. have displaced native understorey flora; concentrations of them create a fire hazard in summer.[4]

Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera is also a weed in New Zealand, Réunion and Mauritius.[5]

The genus comprises 58 species.

Watsonia aletroides (Burm.f.) Ker Gawl.
Watsonia amabilis Goldblatt
Watsonia amatolae Goldblatt
Watsonia angusta Ker Gawl.
Watsonia bachmannii L.Bolus
Watsonia bella N.E.Br. ex Goldblatt
Watsonia borbonica (Pourr.) Goldblatt
Watsonia borbonica subsp. ardernei (Sander) Goldblatt
Watsonia borbonica subsp. borbonica
Watsonia canaliculata Goldblatt
Watsonia coccinea (Herb. ex Baker) Baker
Watsonia confusa Goldblatt
Watsonia densiflora Baker
Watsonia distans L.Bolus
Watsonia dubia Eckl. ex Klatt
Watsonia elsiae Goldblatt
Watsonia emiliae L.Bolus
Watsonia fergusoniae L.Bolus
Watsonia fourcadei J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia galpinii L.Bolus
Watsonia gladioloides Schltr.
Watsonia humilis Mill.
Watsonia hysterantha J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia inclinata Goldblatt
Watsonia knysnana L.Bolus
Watsonia laccata (Jacq.) Ker Gawl.
Watsonia latifolia N.E.Br. ex Oberm.
Watsonia lepida N.E.Br.
Watsonia × longifolia J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia marginata (L.f.) Ker Gawl.
Watsonia marlothii L.Bolus
Watsonia meriana (L.) Mill.
Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera (J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus) D.A.Cooke
Watsonia meriana var. meriana
Watsonia minima Goldblatt
Watsonia mtamvunae Goldblatt
Watsonia obrienii V. Tibergen
Watsonia occulta L.Bolus
Watsonia paucifolia Goldblatt
Watsonia pillansii L.Bolus
Watsonia pondoensis Goldblatt
Watsonia pulchra N.E.Br. ex Goldblatt
Watsonia rogersii L.Bolus
Watsonia rourkei Goldblatt
Watsonia schlechteri L.Bolus
Watsonia spectabilis Schinz
Watsonia stenosiphon L.Bolus
Watsonia stokoei L.Bolus
Watsonia strictiflora Ker Gawl.
Watsonia strubeniae L.Bolus
Watsonia tabularis J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia transvaalensis Baker
Watsonia vanderspuyae L.Bolus
Watsonia versfeldii J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia watsonioides (Baker) Oberm.
Watsonia wilmaniae J.W.Mathews & L.Bolus
Watsonia wilmsii L.Bolus
Watsonia zeyheri L.Bolus

See also

List of plants known as lily


Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Manning, John; Goldblatt, Peter (2008). The Iris Family: Natural History & Classification. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 135–38. ISBN 0-88192-897-6.
The Plant List (2010). Version 1. Published on the Internet; [1] (accessed 1 September 2012)
Environmental Weeds Action Network (Western Australia)

"Wild Watsonia - Department of Primary Industry". 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2009.


Goldblatt, P. (1989) The Genus Watsonia. Ann. Kirstenbosch Bot. Gard. 19. (National Botanic Gardens: Cape Town).

Hussey, BMJ; Keighery GJ; Cousens RD; Dodd J; Lloyd SG (1997). Western Weeds: A Guide to the Weeds of Western Australia. Perth: Plant Protection Society of WA. ISBN 0-646-32440-3.
External links
Dressler, S.; Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G. (2014). "Watsonia". African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg.

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