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The Iris Family: Genus Moraea

The genus Moraea is a group of cormous plants found almost exclusively in Africa. They tend to resemble the South American Cypella and their relatives. Like the Cypella and the African Gladiolus, Moraeas are likely to be tender in cold climates. There are around 90 species known so far.

Moraea polystachys Moraea polystachys is an easy pot plant. It should be a summer-dormant, winter-growing and -blooming species. In my lath house, it can as easily start growing in mid-summer as in late autumn. I believe it is more responsive to moisture than to either temperatures or photoperiod. The light to medium blue flowers are small, 1½ to 2½ inches across. Once the plant starts to bloom, the flowers are produced almost continuously for several months. You can then dry it off and let it rest a couple of months before starting the cycle over again.

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James E. Shields,
Last revised: 09 January 2010
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