Sisyrinchium bellum S. Watson

Blue-Eyed Grass
Iridaceae (Iris Family)


Blue-eyed grass, so called because of its long grass-like leaves and its tendency to grow in grassy meadows, is a green to glaucous tufted perennial 12"-16" tall. The stems are flattish or somewhat winged and the flowers appear at the top. What appears to be six petals is actually three petals and three sepals joined at the base, forming a tube with a yellow center.  The color of the flower is a deep bluish-purple to blue-violet and rarely white, and the tips of the perianth segments are truncate to notched with a small point.  Although most of the leaves are basal, there are alternate cauline leaves as well which are shorter. The fruit is a dry dark or pale-brown capsule with 1-few seeds in a locule. Blue-eyed grass is widely distributed and may be commonly found in many plant communities including chaparral and coastal sage scrub near the coast and inland, growing to an elevation of about 3000'.  It blooms from March to May and is quite variable.  These pictures were taken along the Backbone Trail across the Santa Monica Mts.These

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Sisyrinchium 2) bellum.
Pronunciation: si-si-RINK-ee-um BEL-lum.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.