Caribbean Swordleaf
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Caribbean Swordleaf
E Introduced Photo: Preetha P.S.
Common name: Caribbean Swordleaf
Botanical name: Xiphidium caeruleum    Family: Haemodoraceae (Bloodwort family)
Synonyms: Xiphidium floribundum var. caeruleum, Ixia xiphidium

Caribbean Swordleaf is an evergreen perennial herbaceous species, 0.3-1 m tall, with cylindrical rhizome, 4-20 cm long and of about 1 cm of diameter, horizontal, creeping, with reddish sap, and semi-erect stem, 10-30 cm long, compressed. Alternate simple leaves are linear with pointed tip, margin finely toothed towards the tip and bases wrapping the stem, 20-60 cm long and 1.5-6 cm broad, streaked, of intense green color and glossy. Egg-shaped flowers are borne in erect branch-end panicles, 8-40 cm long, with lateral ramifications almost horizontal bearing 5-25 hermaphroditic flowers, mostly white, yellowish or cerulean, of about 1 cm of diameter, with 6 ovate tepals, three external, 4-10 mm long and 1-4 mm broad, and three internal slightly smaller, three stamina and spherical superior ovary. Caribbean Swordleaf is native to Central Mexico to Tropical America, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Preetha P.S. Photographed in cultivation in Kollam, Kerala.

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