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purple flag
Patersonia sericea.jpg
Patersonia sericea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Patersonioideae
Genus: Patersonia
Type species
Patersonia sericea

Genosiris Labill., rejected name

Patersonia is a genus of flowering plants in the Iridaceae commonly known as native iris or native flag.[2] It was first described as a genus in 1807 by Robert Brown.[3] It is native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and insular Southeast Asia.[1][4] The genus name is a tribute to the first Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales in Australia, William Paterson.[5]

They are perennials with basal leaves growing from a woody rhizome that in some species extends above ground to form a short trunk. The leaves are tough and fibrous, often with adaptations for conserving moisture, such as stomata sunk in grooves, a thickened cross-section, marginal hairs, and thickened margins.

The flowers appear from between a pair of bracts on a leafless stem. They have three large outer tepals that are usually blue to violet, and three tiny inner tepals. There are three stamens fused at the base to form a tube around the longer style, which bears a flattened stigma.[6]

Several Patersonia species are grown as garden plants. They can be propagated by seed or by division.

  1. Patersonia argyrea D.A.Cooke - Gairdner Range in Western Australia
  2. Patersonia babianoides Benth. - Western Australia
  3. Patersonia borneensis Stapf - Sabah
  4. Patersonia drummondii F.Muell. ex Benth. - Western Australia
  5. Patersonia fragilis (Labill.) Asch. & Graebn. - swamp iris, a plant of sandy coastal heathlands in south-eastern Australia (southern Queensland to Tasmania); it has narrow, grey-green leaves and pale violet flowers close to the ground
  6. Patersonia glabrata R.Br. - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria - leafy purple flag, bugulbi (Cadigal), a shrub up to 80 cm high with wiry, tangled stems
  7. Patersonia graminea Benth. - Western Australia
  8. Patersonia inaequalis Benth. - Western Australia
  9. Patersonia inflexa Goldblatt - Papua New Guinea
  10. Patersonia juncea Lindl. - Western Australia
  11. Patersonia lanata R.Br. - Western Australia
  12. Patersonia limbata Endl. - Stirling Range in Western Australia
  13. Patersonia lowii Stapf - Sabah
  14. Patersonia macrantha Benth. - Northern Territory of Australia
  15. Patersonia maxwellii (F.Muell.) F.Muell. ex Benth. - Western Australia
  16. Patersonia neocaledonica Goldblatt & J.C.Manning - New Caledonia
  17. Patersonia novo-guineensis Gibbs - Arfak Mountains in Province of West Papua in Indonesia
  18. Patersonia occidentalis R.Br., which grows up to 75 cm tall and has blue flowers. It is widespread in southern Australia (South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia)
  19. Patersonia philippinensis Goldblatt - Mindoro Island in Philippines
  20. Patersonia pygmaea Lindl. - Western Australia
  21. Patersonia rudis Endl. - Western Australia
  22. Patersonia sericea R.Br. New South Wales
  23. Patersonia spirafolia Keighery - Western Australia
  24. Patersonia sumatrensis Goldblatt - Sumatra
  25. Patersonia umbrosa Endl. , a species from Western Australia that has two colour variants, the typical blue-violet variety, and the yellow-flowered var. xanthina from the karri forests


  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ "Patersonia species" on the australian national herbarium web site
  3. ^ "Patersonia R.Br.". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  4. ^ Cooke, D. A. (1986). Patersonia. Flora of Australia 46: 13-26. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  5. ^ Manning, J. and P. Goldblatt (2008). The Iris Family: Natural History & Classification. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-88192-897-6. 
  6. ^ Goldblatt, P. (2011). Systematics of Patersonia (Iridaceae, Patersonioideae) in the Malesian archipelago. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 98: 514-523.