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Marcus, Joseph A.
Nemastylis geminiflora Nutt.
Prairie celestials, Celestials, Prairie pleatleaf
Synonym(s): Ixia acuta, Nemastylis acuta
USDA Symbol: nege
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Size Notes:
Normally 6 to 12 inches, but can reach 18 inches. Flower:
Flowers 1 to 2 inches wide
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom 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.
, TX Native Distribution:
Kansas and Missouri to central Texas Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs
Growing ConditionsWater 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
BenefitUse Ornamental: Showy, Wildflower meadow, Shortgrass meadow, Blooms ornamental, Ground cover
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Salvage bulbs if possible, or sow seed in fall.
Seed Collection: Collect seed in May, June.
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0206
Collected Apr. 7, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-21
Collected 2006-05-24 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Record Last Modified: 2012-04-09
Research By: NPC