All Floras      Advanced Search
FNA Vol. 26 Page 17, 349, 398 Login | eFloras Home | Help
FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Iridaceae

8. Nemastylis Nuttall, Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc. n. s. 5: 157. 1835.

Celestial-lily, shell-flower [Greek nema, thread, and stylos, pillar or rod, alluding to the style with threadlike arms]

Peter Goldblatt

Chlamydostylus Baker

Herbs, perennial, from tunicate, ovoid bulbs; tunic brown, dry, brittle, papery. Stems simple or branched. Leaves few; blade pleated, lanceolate to ± linear. Inflorescences rhipidiate, few-flowered; spathes green, unequal, outer shorter than inner, apex usually brown, acute, dry. Flowers short-lived, actinomorphic; tepals spreading from base, distinct, blue [to mauve, or white], ± equal [outer whorl slightly larger than inner]; filaments distinct or partly to completely connate; anthers initially erect, collapsing in spiral fashion after dehiscing; style branching ± at or shortly below base of anthers; branches divided ± to base, 2-armed; arms filiform, extending horizontally on either side of subtending anther, stigmatic apically. Capsules ovoid to oblong, cartilaginous, apex truncate to turbinate. Seeds many, ± prismatic, or compressed, winged; seed coat brown. x = 7.

Species 5 (4 in the flora): North America (incl. Mexico), Central America.


Foster, R. C. 1945. Studies in the Iridaceae, III. Contr. Gray Herb. 155: 3–54.

1 Cauline leaf blades well developed, 4–20 mm wide; filaments distinct or connate basally; anthers 11–15 mm.   1 Nemastylis geminiflora
+ Cauline leaf blades narrow, less than 4 mm wide, or bractlike; filaments connate entirely or only in proximal 1/2, rarely connate only basally; anthers 1.5–10 mm.   (2)
2 (1) Plants 40–150 cm; stems usually 3–6-branched; style branches ca. 5 mm; blooming mainly Aug–Oct.   3 Nemastylis floridana
+ Plants 10–40 cm; stems simple or occasionally 1-branched; style branches 2–4(–5) mm; blooming mainly Mar–Jul.   (3)
3 (2) Filaments connate, 1–2 mm; style branching above base of anthers; Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma.   2 Nemastylis nuttallii
+ Filaments connate or distinct in part, 1.5–3.5 mm; style branching below base of anthers; Arizona, Texas, Mexico.   4 Nemastylis tenuis

Lower Taxa


 |  eFlora Home |  People Search  |  Help  |  ActKey  |  Hu Cards  |  Glossary  |