Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Prairie celestial

with 25 comments

In the almost six years of this blog, here’s a native wildflower that’s making its first appearance: Nemastylis geminiflora. Vernacular names include prairie celestial(s), celestial lily, celestial ghost iris, and prairie pleatleaf. I don’t often encounter this wildflower, but some had sprung up in several places on the property of our friends David and Jolyn when we visited them on April 9th in Dripping Springs, a town about half an hour west of Austin.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

25 Responses

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  1. A beauty! 🙂


    May 4, 2017 at 5:05 AM

  2. Your friends were probably thrilled that you showcased this lovely celestial jewel! Is it a petite flower?

    • Yes, they were happy with the picture. One of my field guides says that the flowers can be up to 2 1/4 inches across, though none of the ones I saw on that visit were so large.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2017 at 7:51 AM

  3. What a lovely debut!


    May 4, 2017 at 7:26 AM

  4. It’s fun to come across something unusual, isn’t it? This is lovely.


    May 4, 2017 at 7:50 AM

    • The last encounter that I remember with this species was some years ago in a field at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I don’t know why I don’t come across celestials more often. That made this encounter all the more valuable.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2017 at 7:56 AM

  5. It reminded me immediately of Herbertia. When I read that it’s in the iris family, that association made sense. The Herbertia’s leaves, seed pods, and height are similar (as you know), and it even has a related common name: prairie nymph. It’s just as pretty, too.

    The Herbertias have been thick down here. I’ll have to look more closely, and see if I can find a prairie celestial. According to the USDA map, it could be around. I’d like to see if it’s as appealing in real life as it is in your photo.


    May 4, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    • Herbertia is another wildflower I almost never come across even though it’s listed for Travis County. I’m glad to hear that in your area they’re thick and therefore possible subjects for Lagniappe. I had to lie on the ground for the portraits I made.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2017 at 8:02 AM

  6. Beautiful flower!


    May 4, 2017 at 11:07 PM

  7. What a beauty! Celestial is a lovely name for it too 🙂

    • It is a beauty, and one with an appropriate name. Now if I could only manage to find this species more often…

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2017 at 8:07 PM

      • Ah yes, I know that feeling! Annual orchid hunts are starting now and despite knowing where many of them grow, ours are often so minute that it can be years between sightings! Such a joy when you do find one though 🙂 I think the scarcity makes it a bit more special.

        • While absence makes the heart grow fonder,
          I hope you find your orchid yonder.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 6, 2017 at 8:29 PM

          • I wandered lonely as a cloud upon the hill and in the vale,
            But the only orchids I have found
            Were on sale in Waitrose for just five pounds!

            • You say an orchid for five pounds.
              That must be good, or so it sounds.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 10, 2017 at 8:00 PM

              • It sounds too good for a plant like this,
                Probably because it actually is!

                • Well, you can console yourself with the old saying that “A pint’s a pound the world around.”

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  May 12, 2017 at 8:23 AM

                • Hahaha 😉 I can’t remember that far back in history lol! Can’t even get a pint of water for that these days. I still remember ha’penny sweets though, probably because my Nainie (Welsh granny) used to take my sister and I for a treat on Fridays after school and we’d spend ages choosing carefully which ones we could get.

  8. Pretty little flower with some lovely hues. Dripping Springs sound like a nice place for plants that like wet feet.

    Steve Gingold

    May 8, 2017 at 8:40 AM

  9. Hey Steve .. a little gem 😃


    May 8, 2017 at 2:14 PM

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