Although the common name implies that this plant is a grass, it is actually a member of the Iris family. The many leaves are grass-like, and grow to a height of about twelve to twenty inches. In spring, each plant flowers with a bouquet of blooms that open late in the day. Blue-eyed grass grows in sun or light shade, in grasslands and slopes throughout California.
This plant is excellent for garden wildflower areas, reseeding and returning year after year. Easy to grow, it attracts birds who feed on its seeds. Plants in the garden have the best chance if seeds are sown in the fall allowing them to germinate in the moist spring. Blue-eyed grass does well in soils from sandy with some moisture, to well-drained, to clay with amendment. If planted in a sunny spot, it will do well with additional water. This hardy native tolerates cold weather up to freezing point, by going dormant. Depending on conditions, the plants can flower from January to June.
The scientific name is Sisyrinchium bellum. Sisyrinchium is an ancient Greek word used for a plant, and bellum means pretty.
The top (March 30, 2003) and left (February 2003) plants were photographed on More Mesa.
The right photo was taken on Sedgwick Reserve (March 23, 2003).