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

Common names: Celestial-lily shell-flower
Etymology: Greek nema, thread, and stylos, pillar or rod, alluding to the style with threadlike arms
Synonyms: Chlamydostylus Baker
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 398. Mentioned on page 17, 349.

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.


North America (incl. Mexico), Central America.


Species 5 (4 in the flora).


1 Cauline leaf blades well developed, 4–20 mm wide; filaments distinct or connate basally; anthers 11–15 mm. Nemastylis geminiflora
1 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 Plants 40–150 cm; stems usually 3–6-branched; style branches ca. 5 mm; blooming mainly Aug–Oct. Nemastylis floridana
2 Plants 10–40 cm; stems simple or occasionally 1-branched; style branches 2–4(–5) mm; blooming mainly Mar–Jul. > 3
3 Filaments connate, 1–2 mm; style branching above base of anthers; Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma. Nemastylis nuttallii
3 Filaments connate or distinct in part, 1.5–3.5 mm; style branching below base of anthers; Arizona, Texas, Mexico. Nemastylis tenuis
... more about "Nemastylis"
Peter Goldblatt +
Nuttall +
Celestial-lily +  and shell-flower +
North America (incl. Mexico) +  and Central America. +
Greek nema, thread, and stylos, pillar or rod, alluding to the style with threadlike arms +
Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc., n. s., +
foster1945a +
Chlamydostylus +
Nemastylis +
Iridaceae +