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]
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.