Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Nemastylis geminiflora

Prairie celestials, Celestials, Prairie pleatleaf

Iridaceae (Iris Family)

Nemastylis geminiflora (Prairie celestials)
Marcus, Joseph A.

The sky-blue flowers open in late morning and curl up before 3 in the afternoon, even on overcast days. Each flower only lasts one day. Once the seed has ripened, the bulb is renewed and the plant disappears until following spring. The bulbs colonize over time.

A member of the iris family (family Iridaceae) which consists of herbs growing from rhizomes, bulbs, or corms, with narrow basal leaves and showy clusters at the tips of long stalks. There are about 60 genera and 1,500 species, distributed in temperate and tropical regions. Among them, Iris, Freesia, Gladiolus, Bugle Lily, and Montbretia are popular ornamentals. Saffron dye is obtained from Crocus, and essence of violets, used in perfumes, is extracted from the rhizomes of Iris.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Normally 6 to 12 inches, but can reach 18 inches.
Flower: Flowers 1 to 2 inches wide
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Sky blue, bloom period about 2 weeks, with each flower surviving only one day, opening in the morning and closing late afternoon.


USA: AL , AR , KS , LA , MS , MO , OK , TN , TX
Native Distribution: Kansas and Missouri to central Texas
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Soil Description: Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Sandy, Limestone; Calcareous, Well-drained


Use Ornamental: Showy, Wildflower meadow, Shortgrass meadow, Blooms ornamental, Ground cover
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Last Update: 2012-04-09