Calydorea is a genus in the Iridaceae family, tribe Tigridieae, centered in temperate South America, but including Mexico and southern North America (Florida). It is defined by the subequal tepals spreading from the base with free stamens and short slender style branches. Many of the species have been called many different names in the past. Goldblatt and Henrich in 1991 expanded this genus to include Salpingostylis, Cardiostigma, Itysa, and Catila.
Calydorea amabilis is from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil (Zone 10). It grows in full to part shade and in river banks actually in water in slightly acid soil with plenty of leaf mould. In the wild it receives year round rainfall and blooms from autumn to spring. Bulbs are dormant in summer. In cultivation it is tolerant of sun and less water and blooms for a very long time in cultivation if the flowers are removed. Each flower lasts only a day. It is amazingly adaptable Mary Sue Ittner has found as her plants have come back after going dormant in winter and sometimes bloom in summer as well as fall. It appears to respond to when it gets water. Photo 1 was taken by Lyn Edwards. Photo 2 from Mary Sue Ittner shows the seed pods already formed. Photos 3-5 were taken by Nhu Nguyen.
Calydorea approximata is from north of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay where it is found in shaded places. This tiny Calydorea (10 cm high) has light blue flowers with the stigma lobes very large and a short style, the opposite of C. nuda. The bract that protect the flowers is very long and acute. Photo by Germán Roitman.
Calydorea azurea is from Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay where it has warm conditions, year round rainfall, acid soils and grows in full sun. This one photographed by Germán Roitman is from Entre Rios, Argentina.
Calydorea coelestina (syn. Salpingostylis coelestina Small, Ixia coelestina W.Bartram) is a very rare endemic native to Florida, with a common name of Bartram's Ixia. When I got this it came labeled as Sphenostigma coelestinum , another synonym. But I was just looking at the latest Plant Delights catalog for 2004 and they now list it as a Calydorea. A beautiful purple flower that opens in the morning and is closed by evening, but new ones keep opening on subsequent days. Flower is about 2 inches (5 cm) across. Photos taken Sept. 2003 and one year later in July 2004 by Lee Poulsen. It was self-fertile and set seeds. The last photo shows it photographed by and blooming in the USDA zone 7 Maryland, USA garden of Jim McKenney on June 15, 2005. The flowers are fugacious: they are open early in the morning but begin to collapse by 10 A.M. on hot days. I'll bet there are people in Florida who mow this in their front lawns!
Calydorea nuda is from Uruguay. Photographed by Germán Roitman. The flower is similar to C. azurea but is more violet, open during the afternoon and the stigmatic lobes are very short.
Calydorea pallens is from northwest and central Argentina where it is found in full sun, alkaline soil, dry regions and has a dry winter dormancy. Flowers are light blue. Photos by Germán Roitman and Martin Bohnet.
Calydorea undulata is from northwest and central Argentina where it is found in full sun, alkaline soil, dry regions and has a dry winter dormancy. Flowers are violet. It has been formerly confused with Calydorea pallens. Photo by Germán Roitman.
Calydorea xiphioides (syn. C. speciosa) is from dry regions in central Chile where it grows in neutral to alkaline soils and is dormant in summer. In cultivation, its seasons can be adjusted if the climate is appropriate. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the plants can be grown as a summer grower when given water at that time. It appreciates good sun and a bit of fertilizer during growth. Photos 1-2 from Osmani Baullosa show the leaves and flower. Photos 3-5 were taken by Nhu Nguyen.