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Herbertia lahue (Prairie nymph)
Stone, Robert L.

Herbertia lahue

Herbertia lahue (Molina) Goldblatt

Prairie Nymph, Herbertia

Iridaceae (Iris Family)


USDA Symbol: HELA6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Around 2 inches tall usually

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 savannas 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, Savannas

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


Propagation Material: Seeds

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1037 Collected 2007-06-08 in Liberty County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Herbertia lahue in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Herbertia lahue in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Herbertia lahue


Record Modified: 2019-08-28
Research By: TWC Staff

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