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

 Native Plant Database

Herbertia lahue

Prairie nymph, Herbertia

Iridaceae (Iris Family)

Herbertia lahue (Prairie nymph)
Stone, Robert L.

Easy-to-grow, this shortgrass plant with exotic-looking flowers makes a miniature clump of narrow foliage to only 2 inches tall. The plants are topped from early to mid-May with dark blue-lavender flowers composed of three large oblong petals surrounding a contrasting white eye.

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: Around 2 inches tall usually
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Blue or purple, darker and with white splotches at base of petals. Bloom is circa 2 weeks, with individual flowers lasting only a day, opening in the morning and closing in late afternoon.


USA: FL , LA , MS , TX
Native Distribution: Grasslands and savannahs of southeastern North America from western Florida to Texas, inland to Central and East Texas. Separate populations in southern South America (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil).
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay


Use Ornamental: Fruits ornamental, Forms a carpet
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Last Update: 2009-03-08