Lisianthus russellianus (lis-ee-AN-thus roo-SELL-ee-an-us), which is more commonly known today botanically as Eustoma grandiflorum (you-STOW-ma grand-i-FLOR-um), goes by the common names “prairie gentian” and “Texas bluebell.” Most retail and wholesale florists refer to it commonly by the botanical name Lisianthus.
The botanical name Eustoma comes from the Greek eu, meaning “good,” and stoma, meaning “mouth,” referring to the beautiful petals and throat. The specific epithet name grandiflorum means “large flowers.”
Lisianthus is a member of the Gentianaceae family, and a close relative in the floriculture world is Exacum the Persian violet.
Single-flowered Lisianthus have showy, cup-shaped tulip like flowers, and double-flowered varieties are often mistaken, especially by consumers, for garden roses. Some triple-flowered varieties also are available, but doubles are the top sellers.
Hues span the palette from pastel pink, lavender, yellow and salmon/coral to bright pinks; deep purples, including blue-violet; white; green; “red”; and bicolor.
Lisianthus are geotropic, meaning affected by the force of gravity and will curve upward if stems are placed horizontally.