Blue-Eyed Grass

Media
Photo of blue-eyed grass flower closeup
Scientific Name
Sisyrinchium campestre
Family
Iridaceae (irises)
Description

Flowers small, 6-pointed "stars," variable in size; blue, violet, or white; arising at ends of unbranched stems. There is usually a yellow "eye" at the center of the flower. Blooms April-June. Leaves basal, grasslike, stiff, folded along midrib, upright, pale green.

Similar species: There are 4 species in the genus Sisyrinchium in Missouri, all called "blue-eyed grass," and some are difficult to tell apart. One species, S. atlanticum, is a Coastal Plain plant that lives in Missouri only in our southeastern counties.

Size
Height: to 2 feet, but usually much shorter.
Where To Find
image of Blue-Eyed Grass Image Map
Statewide, though apparently absent from the southeastern lowlands.
Occurs on prairies, glades, upland forests, pastures on thin soil, and along railroad tracks and other rights-of-way. This is the most common of Missouri's four species of blue-eyed grass.
This plant is also sometimes called "prairie blue-eyed grass" and "white-eyed grass."
Many native plants make good native garden subjects. Please make sure that your plants come from ethical nurseries that buy from suppliers who cultivate their stock, and not from those who dig them unethically from the wild.
Blue-eyed grass is a common prairie wildflower, and it, along with hundreds of other plants that make up the complex matrix of species in tallgrass prairies, are the native foods of what were once massive herds of American bison.
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About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!