Freesia

Freesia leichtlinii hybrid

Synonyms - Freesia leichtlinii, Freesia refracta.
Most naturalised plants are hybrids between Freesia alba and Freesia leichtlinii from horticultural stocks.

Order: Liliales

Family: Iridaceae

Names:

Freesia is from the
Freesia

Other Names:

Summary:

Freesias are tufted plants with soft, light green, sword shaped basal leaves arising annually in a fan like arrangement from an underground corm. The erect flowering stem is bent to one side just below the lowest flower and has white or cream to yellow flowers which often have yellow to orange markings. The outside of the flower is usually flushed with purple. The 3-8 flowers are all arranged on one side of the flower stalk. The strongly sweet-scented flowers are tubular and 6-lobed. Each flower has 3 stamens and a slender 6-branched style. Bulbils are produced in the lower leaf axils. Freesia is a horticultural hybrid, originally from South Africa, but is now a serious bushland weed occurring in a variety of disturbed habitats. It flowers in spring.

Description:

Cotyledons:

One.

Leaves:

Arranged like a fan.
Stipules - None
Petiole - None
Blade - Soft, flat, narrowly oval to narrowly egg shaped, 50-350 mm long x 4-8 (12) mm wide. Green on both sides. Mid veins prominent

Stems:

Flower stem - Erect, wiry, 100-400 mm tall x 1-4 mm diameter, bent just below the lowest flower. Occasionally branched.

Flower head:

3-8 flowers in a spike at the end of a stem. Bracts green with translucent edges, occasionally tinged with purple. Outer bract 10-15 mm long.

Flowers:

Sweetly aromatic, tubular with 6 petals and cream to white with a yellow blotch and purple flushes on the outside.
Ovary -
Perianth - Tubular, 2 lipped, white cream or yellow, usually with purple blushes on the outside. Tube 30-45 mm long with a narrow lower section 10-20 mm long and a funnel shaped upper section with lobes of differing sizes. Lower lobes often have orange to yellow blotches. Upper lobe or the inner ring is oval to egg shaped, usually hooded and 15-20 mm long x 12-15 mm wide.
Stamens -
Anthers - Usually white, occasionally purple, 6 mm long.

Fruit:

Cylindrical capsule, 10-15 mm long with a minutely rough surface. Contains many seeds.

Seeds:

Brown. Short lived.
Bulbils are produced in the lower leaf axils.

Roots:

Short and fibrous feeder roots.
Conical corms, 10-15 mm diameter.

Key Characters:

Leaves soft, not fibrous.
Inflorescence unbranched and spike like.
Flowers with 2 floral bracts.
Outer floral bract undivided.
Flowers sessile, secund on a horizontal flexuose axis.
Style branches divided into 2 segments.
Adapted from G. Perry.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual leaves emerge in autumn with flowering and seed set in spring. Bulbils are produced in lower leaf axils in spring. Top growth dies off over summer and the plant survives on a perennial corm.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seeds, bulbils and corms.

Flowering times:

August to October in Perth.
Spring in WA.
September to October in SE Australia.

Seed Biology and Germination:

All seed germinates in the following season 296

Vegetative Propagules:

Corms.

Hybrids:

WA plants are a hybrid of 2 South African species.

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread mainly by intentional planting of corms, earthmoving and dumping of garden refuse.
Seeds and bulbils moved by water flows, slashing and wind also.

Origin and History:

South Africa.
Introduced as a garden plant.

Distribution:

NSW, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
Occurs in the Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Jarrah Forest, Mallee and Warren regions of WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Tend to be located close to habitation.

Climate:

Temperate. Mediterranean.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Ornamental.

Detrimental:

Weed of disturbed bushland, coastal heath and granite outcrops.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Mowing or grazing normally provide control. Don't mow after flowering or bulbil formation as this may spread the infestation.
Avoid dumping contaminated garden refuse in or close to bushland.
Avoid moving contaminated soil to clean areas.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

These plants are very difficult to control by hand weeding because they produce seed, corms and bulbils. Loosen the soil before removal to prevent the corm breaking off.
Continual grazing or repeated mowing provides eventual control.
2-3 years of spraying with 0.5 g metsulfuron(600g/kg) or 100 g 2,2-DPA(740g/kg) plus 25 mL Pulse® in 10 L water will usually eradicate it. Lower rates of metsulfuron(600g/kg) down to 0.1 g in 10 L water have provided reasonable control in some situations with less damage to native species. Alternatively, 50 mL glyphosate(450g/L) plus 25 mL Pulse® in 10 L water applied in winter or spring before the end of flowering provides good control of existing plants but there is occasionally a subsequent emergence. The area will require spraying again next season to control plants emerging from bulbs and bulbils.
Painting leaves or wiping with a sponge glove dipped in a mixture of 1 part glyphosate(450g/L) in 2 parts water can be used in sensitive areas.
Replant native shrub species if necessary. Avoid earth works that carry new corms, bulbils and seed into the area. Start control at the top of the catchment to prevent seed and bulbils transported in water reinfesting treated areas. Don't mow or slash after seed or bulbil formation as this may increase spread.
Local eradication can usually be achieved if all plants asre controlled for 2 years.

Herbicide resistance:

None preported.

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Common Freesia (Freesia refracta)
Freesia (Freesia hybrid)
Freesia (Freesia leichtlinii)

Plants of similar appearance:

Babiana
Ixia
Chasmanthe
Crocosmia
Ferraria
Moraea
Ornithogalum
Sparaxis
Tritonia
Watsonia

References:

Blood, K. (2001). Environmental weeds: a field guide for SE Australia. (CH Jerram & Associates, Australia). P175. Photo.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P30-31. Photo.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #561.

Marchant et al (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P792.

Moore, J.H. and Wheeler, J.R. (2002). Southern Weeds and their Control. Photos.

Muyt, A. (2001). Bush Invaders of South-East Australia: a guide to the identification and control of environmental weeds found in South East Australia. (R.G and F.J. Richardson, Australia). P90-91. Photos.

Paczkowska, G. and Chapman, A. (2000). The Western Australia flora: a descriptive catalogue. (Wildflower Society of Western Australia (Inc), the Western Australian Herbarium, CALM and the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority). P70.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.