Plant Family Identification - I

This page applies only to those plant families identified within the Wildflowers of Escambia site. When the page has loaded, scroll down to find the general plant family description you seek.


Illiciaceae (Anise) -- This family is made up primarily of small trees, or shrubs, bearing fragrant oils in the leaves.

Florida Anise
Illicium floridanum

The leaves are evergreen, alternate on the stem, often crowded towards the tips of the twigs. The leaf stalks do not sheath the stem, are gland-dotted, aromatic (a few are without odor). Each leaf consists of one whole part, pinnately veined, and without stipules. The margins have no teeth and no lopes.

The flowers are solitary, bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form, arising from the leaf axil. Occasionally there will be an aggregate of two or three in a bundle. The blossom is small and colorful (usually red or yellow). The perianth and stamens are commonly arranged in several series. There will be no hypanthium or disc. The perianth intergrades from sepals to petals, and the outermost series is small and bract-like. The inner series is reduced and often looks like a stamen. The similar , I. parviflorum (Ocala Anise), has more ovate leaves, with a rounded tip, and much smaller yellow flowers.

Fruit is a non-fleshy follicle (the cycle of follicles often spreading radially in a star-like pattern).

Worldwide there is only one genera and about 42 species. Some are cultivated as ornamental garden plants.

Use BACK button to return to Index


Iridaceae (Iris) -- Herbs growing from rhizomes, bulbs or corms, with narrow basal leaves and showy clusters at the tups of longf stalks.

Dwarf Iris
Iris verna

The flowers are usuallly radially symmetrucal. The calyx will have three petal-like sepals, and the corolla will have three petals and three stamens. All these parts are attached at the top of the ovary.

The leaves have no teeth and no lobes, arranged alternate on the stem, folded and overlapping one another at the base and aligned in two rows.

Fruit is a capsule.

Worldwide, there are about 60 genera and 1,500 species, distributed in temperate and tropical regions. Among them, Iris, Freesia, Gladiolus, Bugle Lily, and Montbretia are popular ornamental garden plants.

Saffron dye is obtained from Crocus and "essence of violets," in perfumes is extracted from the rhizomes of Iris.

Use BACK button to return to Index


Iteaceae (Sweetspire) -- The family is generally small trees or shrubs. The plants are non-succulent. Formerly this family was Saxifragaceae (Saxifrag Family).

The leaves have no teeth and no lobes, evergreen or deciduous, arranged alternate on the stem (herbaceous), and leathery (sometimes holly-like). The stalked leaf is non-sheathing. Each leaf consists of one whole part, and the stalk is stipulate. The margins are serrate, or dentate (some spinose). Minor leaves (as in Virginia Willow), have no phloem transfer cells.

The flowers are bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form, aggregated in racemes, or in panicles. The terminal flower unit is cymose. Each cluster arises from the leaf axil, densely elongate-racemiform or shortly cymose. The flowers are small and fragrant. The perianth has a distinct calyx and corolla. The petals are narrow, white, and usually number five. There will be five fertile stamens. The filliments are subulate.

Fruit is a non-fleshy capsule.

Worldwide there are only 2 known genera and 17 species. Several species are favorite garden ornamental plants. All members of this family are found in temperate to tropical environments, East and Southeast Asia, eastern North America, and tropical and South Africa.

Use BACK button to return to Index