Bartram's ixia (Calydorea caelestina) is a rare and beautiful member of the iris family; found only in 7 counties in northeast Florida and nowhere else. It's endemic. It grows in seasonally wet open flatwoods and prairies that are subjected to fire on a regular basis.
Even if you know where to look, the ixias are difficult to spot when not in bloom. The flowers only open in the early morning for 2-3 hours before closing. The rest of the time they are easy to miss, because each plant produces only 2 or 3 narrow, grass-like leaves.
It's called Bartram's ixia because William Bartram, botanist and explorer, was the one who first described this plant and named it in his book "Travels" in the late 1700's. Here is his description:
“The colour of this most delightfull of Flowers is a lively blue reflecting a slite cast of purple. The delicate texture of these Flowers is admirable beyond anything that Vigitation presents besides.”
The Palmetto Magazine is a quarterly publication for FNPS members. It highlights native plant research, native landscaping ideas, plant profiles, FNPS news, and more. This issue covered our Bartram's Ixia.