Aristea ecklonii

Aristea ecklonii.

Family Iridaceae. > Subfamily Nivenioideae has 7 genera including Aristea with about 50 to 57 species.
(Some put it in a subfamily Aristeoideae.)
It has many common names including Blue Stars, Blue Corn lily and Blue-eyed iris.
Used as a garden plant it has escaped and is a weed in some areas.

An evergreen, clumping plant with alternate leaves.
The erect, sword-like leaves are up to 60 cm high and under 1 cm wide.
The sheathing bases form a basal fan.
They have parallel veins and longitudinal ribs or ridges.

Branched terminal or axillary inflorescences are held above the leaves.
There are bracts at the base of each branch and under each flower.
The main inflorescence stem is slightly zig-zagged.
The inflorescence stems and branches are flattened with wings down each side.

The flowers only last a day but new blooms appear over a long period.
The flat flowers, 2 – 3 cm across have 6 widely spreading tepals in 2 whorls.
The tepal bases are fused into a tube that is yellowish inside.
The inner 3 tepal lobes are much wider than the outer ones.
Tepals are bright blue to mauve.
The midrib is a darker colour above and greenish below.

The 3 stamens are free, symmetrically arranged and inserted onto the top of the tube.
They have blue or mauve filaments with yellow bases and bright yellow anthers.
The single style and the stigma are the same colour as the perianth.
The inferior ovary has 3 joined carpels.
There are numerous ovules in each of the 3 locules.
The fruit are cylindric or 3-angled capsules around 1.5 cm long.