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The Family Themidaceae: Triteleia

The genus Triteleia belongs to the family Themidaceae, a New World group closely related to the hyacinths. These plants were formerly considered part of the Alliaceae. There are about 15 species in this genus. They form corms which produce one to two narrow, basal leaves. The leaves are groved above and have the midrib prominent on the underside. The star-shaped flowers are produced in umbels at the top of a bare scape.

Triteleia laxa 'Queen Fabiola' is a well-known variety in cultivation. It produces a cluster of blue flowers in late spring and is hardy outdoors in USDA zone 5. T. ixioides scabra has yellow flowers and is hardy outdoors in the gorund here in central Indiana, USDA zone 5. T. x tubergenii does very well in the ground here, with rich blue flowers sinmilar to those of T. laxa.

For more information on the new phylogenies derived from integration of DNA analysis with classical taxonomic criteria, see Meerow et al., American J. of Botany, vol. 86, pp. 1325-1345 (1999).

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James E. Shields,
Last revised: 08 January 2010
© Copyright 2010 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.