Neomarica is a genus in the Iris family (Iridaceae) with 15 species found in the tropical Americas. Plants in the genus were previously called Marica from the name of a nymph. The preface neo, Latin for 'new' was added when it was discovered that Marica had been previously used for the closely related genus Cipura. The common name, Apostle Plant, comes from the belief that a Neomarica will not bloom until the plant has 12 leaves.
Neomarica caerulea forms large clumps with 3-5 ft long stiff pale green sword-like leaves. The strikingly beautiful 3-4 inch wide blue flowers appear above the foliage in late spring, often coinciding with the similarly colored Jacaranda. The flowers seem to open only for a day and then take a short rest to open again several days later. This rest and bloom cycle goes on for 4-6 weeks. Plants will grow in full sun but foliage color is best in light shade (under a Jacaranda or Tipuana tipu is perfect). Water regularly and let the plants self sow into the garden. Neomarica caerulea, from Guinea and Brazil, has been widely cultivated throughout the tropics and into the subtropics.