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Bulbs of the World
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The Iris Family: Genus Cypella

Cypella is a South American genus in the iris family. The plants grow from bulbs. The leaves are plicated (folded fan-like or accordian-like). The flowers have the sepals (outer tepals) markedly larger than the petals (inner tepals). They range from Mexico to Argentina.

Cypella amabilis flower Cypella amabilis is a dwarf member of this genus, with bright, light blue flowers about 1½ inches across. Scape height is 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm). With greenhouse care over the winter, C. amabilis blooms off and on all summer long here in central Indiana. This species has been in the genus Calydorea, but appears to belong in Cypella.

Cypella coelestis is a tall light blue flowering plant. The flowers are about 3 inches across. Scape height is 20 to 30 inches. With greenhouse care over the winter, C. coelestis blooms in early summer here in central Indiana. Evergreen, and needs enough water in winter that it retains its foliage. If you let it become completely dry in winter, it may not recover.

Cypella herbertii has a 2-inch lemon yellow flower with brown markings in the center and along the adaxial (inner) surface of the basal midrib of the sepals. The 10-inch flower stalk may be branched. Summer blooming.

Cypella peruviana flower Cypella peruviana is a deep yellow-orange flower with delicate brown markings on the inside at the bases of the petals and sepals. There are a few light purple or blue markings on the outside of the petals but none on the sepals. Scape height is about 25 inches (ca. 60 cm). The flowers are 3 to 4 inches across and are born singly. The flower starts to open at dusk the previous day, and starts to close by 10 AM the day of blooming. With greenhouse care over the winter, C. peruviana starts blooming in early September here in central Indiana. Deciduous, losing its foliage later in winter; it survives winter storage in the greenhouse under the bench and dry most of the time.

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For information about this account, contact:
James E. Shields,
Last revised: 08 January 2010
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