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Another little test for the knowledgeable!

These pretty little flowers came as seeds from the Azores. We thought they looked a bit like orangey-pink flax, but they seem to have six petals (instead of five for flax?) set clearly in two asymmetric sets of three with just three on the same side with darker coloured centres. This is their first year and all are the same. The leaves are grass-like - colouring to purple-ish as they mature. A type of miniature phormium??

Any ideas would be most helpful.

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Freesia laxa at a guess. Used to be Anomatheca laxa

28 May, 2014


Definitely an Iridaceae species with its six petals. Freesia laxa looks right.

28 May, 2014


Thanks so much to you both, Owdboggy and Buddlejagar, for the quick and helpful responses. I have now cheated and had a good search through the web and it is undoubtedly Freesia Laxa. It seems to come in many colours and the Alba is particularly striking. Native to Africa, so only a small hop over to the Azores.

Many thanks again.

28 May, 2014


You were lucky to get it, as it isn't in the Biodiversity list of the University of the Azores. What probably happened was that when Angola and Mozambique became independent from Portugal, a lot of the people left and returned to Portugal. They brought with them many of their favourite plants and bulbs.

29 May, 2014


That's interesting Wylieintheazores ... and you are so lucky to be there! We had a wonderful Azores walking holiday in June 2013, just on Sao Miguel and Santa Maria, so will definitely return to try some of the other islands asap. The hedges of hydrangeas (and the perhaps more typically Madeiran agapanthus) were stunning.

Your suggestion re the seeds may well be good as I see they are more native to west coast Africa - so rather further away. I can't remember exactly where the seeds came from, but from the date of the original photo (now also attached above) it must have been from a wild area in one of the larger gardens in Ponta Delgada. We did stay at the Furnas Park as well, but the date is wrong. There do seem to have been so many keen plant collectors with lovely gardens in the Azores over the centuries.

We always feel very guilty about collecting such seeds - only half a dozen! - but this was so charming ...! Ironically, I now find that it is perfectly available over here.

Thanks for your input.

29 May, 2014

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