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Stout blue-eyed grass Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Previously known as:

  • Sisyrinchium bermudiana
  • Sisyrinchium gramineum
  • Sisyrinchium gramonoides
Phonetic Spelling
sis-ee-RINK-ee-um an-gus-tee-FOH-lee-um
Description

The common name is derived from the blue flowers.  

These blue (to a blue-violet) flowers are on branching stems with grass-like foliage. However, this plant is not a grass but is in the iris family.  The stiff, upright, sword-shaped leaves form into a fan shape, very similar to other plants in the iris family.  These leaves are typically narrower than the leaves of an iris, making it look more like a grass.  After the flowers have bloomed, it would be hard to pick out this plant when situated with other grassy plants.  

Growing from rhizomes, this plant likes moist to average soil and is generally found in moist meadows, marshes, low woods, damp open woods, on stream banks and slopes.  Planting is groups will provide curb appeal.

It is the most common blue-eyed grass in the eastern portion of the United States.  

The leaves were cooked and eaten by Native Americans as a medicinal plant.  It was said to regulate the bowel.

Habitat: Woodlands, forests, meadows, sand hills, and swales.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious issues.  Being a self-seeding plant, it should be cut down after blooming in order to avoid unwanted spread.

Division should be performed every few years to keep the plants healthy.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Pollinator Garden- Full Sun Native/ Woodland Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Lucerne'
    Found in Lucerne, Switzerland, it produces larger flowers that are more abundant.
'Lucerne'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#perennials#white flowers#semi-evergreen#native perennials#blue flowers#spring flowers#slopes#stream banks#ncemgva2018#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#long lifespan#self-seeding#cutting garden#spring interest#wildflower garden#marshes#clumping#short lifespan#poor soils tolerant#food source summer#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#walkway planting#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#meadows#dry soils intolerant#drought intolerant#salt spray intolerant#woodland garden#salt intolerant#butterflies#butterfly#butterfly garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Lucerne'
    Found in Lucerne, Switzerland, it produces larger flowers that are more abundant.
'Lucerne'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#perennials#white flowers#semi-evergreen#native perennials#blue flowers#spring flowers#slopes#stream banks#ncemgva2018#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#long lifespan#self-seeding#cutting garden#spring interest#wildflower garden#marshes#clumping#short lifespan#poor soils tolerant#food source summer#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#walkway planting#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#meadows#dry soils intolerant#drought intolerant#salt spray intolerant#woodland garden#salt intolerant#butterflies#butterfly#butterfly garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sisyrinchium
    Species:
    angustifolium
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Naturalized areas.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO< SM, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Food source for birds. Butterflies, bumblebees, sweat bees, bee flies and syrphid flies are attracted to this plant for its nectar and pollen.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Defines Paths
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    light shade, insect pests, diseases
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Displays from May to July. The capsules can be collected for seed when they darken and become wrinkled.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    This plant has 0.5 in., delicate, bright blue-violet flowers with a yellow eye. Blooms from March to June on stalks above the leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    This pale green to whitish plant has slender, wiry stems in a tuft.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Description:
    This pale green to whitish plant has slender, flat, wiry stems in a tuft.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Insect Pests