What is the difference between Dietes grandiflora and Dietes Iridioides?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Dietes grandiflora and Dietes iridioides are two species of plants that belong to the iris family and are commonly known as African irises. While they may appear similar in photographs with their white flowers marked with yellow and violet, there are several key differences between the two species.

1. Flower Size: One of the most noticeable differences between Dietes grandiflora and Dietes iridioides is the size of their flowers. The flowers of Dietes grandiflora are much larger compared to those of Dietes iridioides. The flowers of grandiflora can reach up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, while the flowers of iridioides are smaller, typically measuring around 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.

2. Flower Duration: Another distinguishing characteristic is the duration of the flowers. The flowers of Dietes grandiflora last for approximately three days before they wither and die, while the flowers of Dietes iridioides have a much shorter lifespan, typically lasting only one day.

3. Spotting: The presence or absence of dark spots at the base of the outer tepals is another feature that sets the two species apart. Dietes grandiflora has dark spots at the base of its outer tepals, adding a contrasting element to the overall appearance of the flower. In contrast, Dietes iridioides lacks these dark spots, resulting in a more uniform coloration.

4. Growth Habits: While not directly related to flower characteristics, it is worth mentioning that the two species also differ in their growth habits. Dietes grandiflora tends to form larger clumps and can reach heights of up to 4 feet (1.2 meters), while Dietes iridioides usually forms smaller clumps and grows to a height of around 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters).

Dietes grandiflora and Dietes iridioides may share similarities in their white flowers with yellow and violet markings, but they can be distinguished by differences in flower size, duration, spotting, and growth habits. These variations make it possible to differentiate between the two species when observing them closely or comparing photographs.