Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-eyed Grass

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Sisyrinchium bellum

This grasslike perennial in the iris family has blue-purple saucer-shaped flowers on 18" stalks. It is found on grassy hillsides in full sun and in semi-dry and slightly moist meadows throughout California. The one-half to one-inch inch wide flowers have yellow centers.

It makes an excellent perennial member of the wildflower meadow. It has a long bloom period beginning in early February, so it complements many other wildflowers as they come and go, both early bloomers like California buttercup, Ranunculus californicus, and suncups, Camissonia ovata, and then later in the season, hayfield tarweed, Hemizonia congesta.

Its common name of blue-eyed grass is one that often baffles wildflower lovers. Though the shades of the petals range from magenta to deep -purple to light-purple, to blue-purple, they are rarely blue, though a blue form has been assiduously sought. The "eye" in the center is always yellow. Since common names are created by those that use them,  we have boldly added "purple-eyed grass" to the common names for Sisyrinchium bellum.