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Libertia grandiflora.JPG
Libertia grandiflora
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Sisyrinchieae
Genus: Libertia
Spreng. 1824, conserved name not Dumort. 1822 (syn of Hosta) nor Lej. 1825 (syn of Bromus)
Type species
Libertia ixioides
(Forster f.) Spreng.
  • Tekel Adans.
  • Tekelia Scop.
  • Renealmia R.Br. 1810 not L. 1753 nor L.f. 1782
  • Nematostigma A.Dietr.
  • Orthrosanthus Sweet
  • Taumastos Raf.
  • Choeradodia Herb.
  • Ezeria Raf.
Libertia peregrinans

Libertia is a genus of monocotyledenous plants in the family Iridaceae, first described as a genus in 1824.[2] It is native to South America, Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Seven species are endemic to New Zealand.[1][3][4]

Libertia is made up of perennials herbs growing from short rhizomes,[2] with simple, linear or narrowly lanceolate basal leaves which are often green but may be red, orange, or yellow under direct sunlight.[5] The showy white or blue trimerous flowers are open in spring and are followed by capsules opening by three valves which contain the numerous seeds.[6]

The genus was named after the Belgian botanist Marie-Anne Libert[7] (1782–1865) (also referred to as Anne-Marie Libert).[8]

  1. Libertia chilensis (Molina) Gunckel - central + southern Chile, southern Argentina, Juan Fernández Islands
  2. Libertia colombiana R.C.Foster - Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia
  3. Libertia cranwelliae Blanchon, B.G.Murray & Braggins - North Island of New Zealand [3]
  4. Libertia edgariae Blanchon, B.G.Murray & Braggins - North Island of New Zealand[3]
  5. Libertia falcata Ravenna - Los Lagos region of Chile
  6. Libertia flaccidifolia Blanchon & J.S.Weaver - North Island of New Zealand
  7. Libertia grandiflora (R.Br.) Sweet - North + South Islands of New Zealand
  8. Libertia insignis Ravenna - Los Lagos region of Chile
  9. Libertia ixioides (G.Forst.) Spreng. - North + South Islands of New Zealand
  10. Libertia mooreae Blanchon, B.G.Murray & Braggins - North + South Islands of New Zealand[3]
  11. Libertia paniculata (R.Br.) Spreng. - eastern Australia [9] - Branching Grass Flag
  12. Libertia peregrinans Cockayne & Allan - North + South + Chatham Islands of New Zealand
  13. Libertia pulchella (R.Br.) Spreng. - New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, North + South Islands of New Zealand, New Guinea[4][10]
  14. Libertia sessiliflora (Poepp.) Skottsb. - central Chile
  15. Libertia tricocca Phil. - central + southern Chile
  16. Libertia umbellata Ravenna - Los Lagos region of Chile
Selected formerly included[1]

Numerous names have been coined using the name Libertia, referring to species that are now regarded as better suited to other genera (Bromus Cardiocrinum Hosta Orthrosanthus). We provide links to help you find appropriate information.


Libertia has a high rate of polyploidy, with 9/11 of assessed species confirmed as polyploid and only 2 confirmed as diploid.[3] This is not unprecedented, with polyploidy being a common feature in the tribe Sisyrinchieae.[11] The uniform base number of x=19[11] is, however, defining within the tribe. This base number is not found elsewhere in the tribe and only Diplarrhena and Solenomelus have uniform base numbers intragenerically.[11]

All New Zealand endemic species of Libertia are hexaploid or dodecaploid,[12][13][14][15][3] while these levels of ploidy have not been found outside New Zealand. Polyploidy is more prevalent in New Zealand species across all botanical taxa[16][17] and this has been attributed as a relic of glacial refugia during glacial maximums.[18]

Distribution Species Ploidy Level Chromosomal Count Contention
South American L. chilensis 4x (6x) 76[13] (72, 114)[19] Due to numerous issues with this study, authors found the sample, identified as Libertia ixioides (New Zealand endemic) but collected from Chile, to have 72 chromosomes present.[20] This was most likely a misidentification of Libertia chilensis, with a further error in counting.

Samples from the Juan Fernandez Islands were found to have 114 chromosomes, in comparison to the 76 found on the mainland.[19]

South American L. colombiana No data available. No data available.
New Zealand endemic L. cranwelliae 12x 228[3]
New Zealand endemic L. edgariae 6x 114[3]
South American L. falcata No data available. No data available.
New Zealand endemic L. flaccidifolia 12x 228[12]
New Zealand endemic L. grandiflora 6x 114[15] (228, 230)[12] The 228/230 chromosome specimen was likely Libertia flaccidifolia,[15] before the 2009 naming by Blanchon and Weaver.[12]
South American L. insignis No data available. No data available.
New Zealand endemic L. ixioides 12x 228[15] (220-230, 230)[13] Due to the difficulty in counting chromosomes, authors found between 220-230 chromosomes in different counts, with 228 being the average count.[13]
New Zealand endemic L. mooreae 6x 114[3]
Australian L. paniculata 4x 76[13]
New Zealand endemic L. peregrinans 6x 114[14]
Australasia-New Zealand L. pulchella 2x 38[14]
South American L. sessiliflora 2x 38[13]
South American L. tricocca No data available. No data available.
South American L. umbellata No data available. No data available.


  1. ^ a b c d Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ a b Sprengel, Curt Polycarp Joachim 1824. Systema Vegetabilium, editio decima sexta 1: 127 in Latin
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Blanchon, D.J. et al. (2002) A taxonomic revision of Libertia (Iridaceae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 40:437-456.
  4. ^ a b "Census of vascular plants of Papua New Guinea". Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  5. ^ "Stephen Butler | IGPS Blog". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  6. ^ Goldblatt; Henrich; Keating, Peter; James; Richard (1989). "Seed morphology of Sisyrinchium (Iridaceae-Sisyrinchieae) and its allies". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 76 (4): 1109–1117 – via JSTOR. 
  7. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2006). CRC World Dictionary of Grasses, Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. 1. Taylor and Francis. p. 124. 
  8. ^ Manning, John; Goldblatt, Peter (2008). The Iris Family: Natural History & Classification. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 215–16. ISBN 0-88192-897-6. 
  9. ^ "Libertia paniculata". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  10. ^ "Libertia pulchella". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  11. ^ a b c Goldblatt; Takei, P.; M. (1997). "Chromosome cytology of Iridaceae-patterns of variation, determination of ancestral base numbers, and modes of karyotype change". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 85 (2): 285–304. 
  12. ^ a b c d Blanchon; Weaver, D.J.; J.S. (2009). "Libertia flaccidifolia (Iridaceae), a new species from Mt. Tamahunga, Northland, New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 47: 317–324. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Blanchon, D.J. (2000). "Chromosome numbers in the genus Libertia". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 38 (2): 245–250. 
  14. ^ a b c Hair; Beuzenberg; Pearson, J.B.; E.J.; B. (1967). "Contributions to a chromosome atlas of the New Zealand flora - 9. Miscellaneous families". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 5: 185–196. 
  15. ^ a b c d Moore, L.B. (1967). "The New Zealand species of Libertia (Iridaceae)". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 5 (2): 2550275. 
  16. ^ Rendle; Murray, H.; B.G. (1989). "Chromosome relationships and breeding barriers in New Zealand species of Ranunculus". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 27: 437–444. 
  17. ^ Murray; Cameron; Standring, B.G.; E.K.; L.S. (1992). "Chromosome numbers, karyotypes, and nuclear DNA variation in Pratia Gaudin (Lobeliaceae)". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 30: 181–187. 
  18. ^ McQueen, D.R. (1992). "Disjunction of tree species in mountain forests, southern North Island, New Zealand: a review of paleobotanical evidence". Pacific Science. 46 (2): 269–275. 
  19. ^ a b Sanders; Stuessy; Rodriguez, R.W.; T.F.; R. (1983). "Chromosome numbers from the flora of the Juan Fernandez Islands". American Journal of Botany. 70: 799–810. 
  20. ^ Kenton; Heywood, A.; C.A. (1984). "Cytological studies in South American Iridaceae". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 146: 87–104.