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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Freesia

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Iridaceae

Eighteen species, 16 of which are native to southern Africa (mainly to the winter-rainfall region). The remaining two species are found in south tropical Africa, one of which has a distribution extending as far north as Sudan.

Two main types of pollination have been discerned in this genus (Goldblatt & Manning 2000):

  • The species with broad-tubes and highly scented, are pollinated by bees.
  • The narrow-tubed unscented species are pollinated by butterflies and maybe moths.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).

Freesia alba


Freesia andersoniae


Freesia caryophyllacea


Freesia corymbosa


Freesia fergusoniae


Freesia fucata

Freesia grandiflora

[= Anomatheca grandiflora]


Freesia laxa

[= Anomatheca laxa]

See Goldblatt & Hutchings (1993).

Freesia leichtlinii

Freesia marginata


Freesia occidentalis

Freesia refracta


Freesia sparrmannii


Freesia speciosa


Freesia verrucosa

[= Anomatheca verrucosa]


Freesia viridis

[= Anomatheca viridis]

See Goldblatt (1983).



  • Goldblatt, P. 1982. Systematics of Freesia Klatt (Iridaceae). Journal of South African Botany 48: 39-91.

  • Goldblatt, P. 1983. Anomatheca viridis (Ait.) Goldbl. Flowering Plants of Africa 47: t.1867.
  • Goldblatt, P. & Hutchings, A. 1993. Anomatheca laxa subsp. azurea subsp. nov. (Iridaceae) from coastal southern Mozambique and Natal, South Africa. Novon 3: 145147.
  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J.C. 1995. Phylogeny of the African genera Anomotheca and Freesia (Iridaceae-Ixioideae), and a new genus Xenoscapa. Systematic Botany 20: 161-178.
  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J.C. 2000. Iridaceae. In: In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 623-638. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.