This week for Flora and Fauna Friday, we’re examining another genus of wildflowers. The subject of our attention are the Blue-eyed Grasses, genus Sisyrinchium.

Blue-eyed Grasses are not grasses but members of the Iris family. They have the characteristic colorful, six-petaled flowers of an Iris, albeit on the small scale. The same goes for their leaves, which have that flat, nested, fan-like shape of an iris. Just like other Irises, their fruit is a capsule that splits open and drops seeds as it dries. Blue-eyed Grasses grow in disturbed habitats such as forest edges, trail sides, road shoulders, lawns, and the like.

In our area we have about 5 species of Blue-eyed Grass. On Edisto, the species you’re most likely to see are: Annual Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium rostulatum), Narrowleaf Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), and Eastern Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum). Annual Blue-eyed Grass is the easiest to find and ID. It grows in almost any sunny, disturbed site and has a short stature with small, pointy flowers that range in color from blue, to pink, to yellow. Narrowleaf and Eastern Blue-eyed Grasses are very similar in appearance both having long thin leaves and blue-purple flowers. However, the Narrowleaf prefers sunny, open habitats and Eastern prefers shady, woodland habitats.

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