Index- plants in this Family
Iridaceae / Iris
Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium albidum)
Blue-eyed Grass is also known as White Blue-eyed Grass which is the official vernacular for this species..

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 50cm in height (20inches). The flower stems are unbranched and usually not longer than the leaves. There is a mat of fibers at the base.
Leaves: This plant has basal leaves only. Leaves can be as wide as 0.6 cm (0.25inches).
Flowers: The flowers have 6 Regular Parts and are up to 2.5cm wide (1 inches). They are white to blue with yellow centers. Blooms first appear in early spring and continue into late spring. The three petals and three almost identical sepals have narrow pointed tips. This species usually has two clusters of flowers on each stem each cluster emerging from two spathes.
Habitat: Fields, glades and open woods.
Range: Most of eastern North America.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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There are many species under the rubric Blue-eyed Grass with only slight details of their form to distinguish them. They are not grasses of course but instead related to the Irises. This species is particulary common in the cedar glades of central Tennessee.

Similar Species: Plants that do not have branched stems:
Strict Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium montanum) can reach 61cm (24") in height and has blue-violet flowers about 2.5cm (1") wide. It is a more northern species and is found only in the mountains in our area.
Needletip Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium mucronatum) reaches 40cm (16") in height. The leaves are only 0.2cm (.075") wide and shorter than the very narrow stems. It is found only in the northern part of our area.
Prairie Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium campestre) reaches 50cm (20") and has a flat stem and leaves to 0.3cm (0.125") wide. The flowers are white or light blue and less than 2.5cm (1") wide. It is common in the Midwestern prairies and found south to Louisiana and Texas.

Species that may have branched stems: (not all stems will be branched)
Narrowleaf Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is a very common species that can reach 50cm (20") in height . The stem is distinctly winged and the flower stalks are longer than the leaves. The leaves are usually over 0.3cm (.125") wide. Eastern Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum ) has less prominent wings on the stem and leaves less than 0.3cm (.125") wide. The stems are longer than the leaves and the blue flowers are about 2.5cm (1") wide.
Annual Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium rosulatum) is an annual which reaches only 15cm (6") in height and has spreading leaves that are only 0.25cm (0.1") wide and 6.5cm (3") long. The violet flowers are only 1cm (0.4") wide. It grows mainly on the coastal plain from North Carolina to Florida and west to Texas.
Jeweled Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium xerophyllum) grows in Florida pine woods and scrub. It often grows to 60cm (2") in height and has flowers 2.5cm (1") wide.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf



Welcome / Glossary / Books / Links / Feedback / Image use policy - Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States, Page updated on 8/14/2009 11:14:27 AM. (Viewed date from local machine.)
© 1999-2009 Daniel W. Reed
File date-14-Aug-09