Babiana is a genus of flowering plants in the family Iridaceae composed of about 80 recognised species. The majority of these species are endemic to the Cape Provinces of South Africa, especially Namaqualand, as well Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The genus name is derived from the Dutch word baviaan, referring to the Chacma baboon Papio ursinus, that consumes the corms of plants in the genus.
Babiana stricta (baboon flower, blue freesia) is widely cultivated as an ornamental and has been naturalised in Australia. Growing 10–30 cm tall by 5 cm broad, it is a cormous perennial with hairy leaves 10-20 cm long. The leaves show linear venation. There are many hybrids and cultivars with different coloured flowers, usually blue, mauve or pink with white additions.
In mid- to late spring, each flowering stem produces six or more blooms, each to 5 cm across. They are grouped in an inflorescence and often have a pleasant lemon scent. The seeds are black with a hard coat, collected in round seed capsules. The specific epithet stricta means "erect, upright".
This specimen is growing in our garden but the cold and rainy weather has spoiled it somewhat. The colour of the flowers is quite striking and makes a nice contrast witht he yellow freesias growing adjacent to it.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.