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common name for members of the genus Iris of the Iridaceae, a family of perennial herbs that includes the crocuses, freesias, and gladioli. The family is characterized by thickened stem organs (bulbs, corms, and rhizomes) and by linear or sword-shaped
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a genus of plants of the family Iridaceae. The perennial cormose herbs are characterized by a cluster of narrow radical leaves and a small spicate inflorescence bent at a right angle to the stem. The narrow funnelform flowers have a six-parted periath, a filamentous style, twice dissected stigmata, and three stamens. The ovary is inferior, three-valved, and many-seeded. There are 15 to 20 species, native to southern Africa. Ornamental hybrids obtained from crossing F. armstrongii and F. refracta are cultivated in sheltered ground; the hybrids are noted for their fragrant flowers. Hybrids are grown from corms or seeds; seedlings flower in the year they are planted.