Sisyrichium idahoense seed. Photo by Lisa Hintz
  • Scientific Name: Sisyrichium idahoense
  • Family: Iridaceae
  • English Names: Blue-eyed grass, Idaho blue-eyed grass
  • Other Names: Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Contents

Taxonomy

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • (unranked): Angiosperms
  • (unranked): Monocots
  • Order: Asparagales
  • Family: Iridaceae
  • Subfamily: Iridoideae
  • Tribe: Sisyrinchieae
  • Genus: Sisyrinchium
  • Species: S. idahoense

Description

Showy, tufted perennial to 40 cm tall; stems usually flattened and wing-margined. Leaves mostly basal, long (to 20 cm).and very narrow (< 2 mm broad). Flowers blue to purplish-blue often with a yellow "eye", small (about 2 cm across) and in a terminal cluster of one to five flowers above a pair of sheathing, leaf-like bracts. Fruits egg-shaped capsules to 6 mm long, with black seeds [1]

Bloom Period

May to July

Distribution

Native to British Columbia and Western United States

Habitat

Ecological Setting

Moist to wet grassy meadows, vernal seepage areas, marshes, roadside ditches; at low to middle elevations [1]

Soil Texture

Fine to well-drained.

Soil Reaction / Salinity

Mildly acidic to alkaline (pH 5.5 to 7.5) [2]

Moisture Regime

Dry to fresh [3]

Shade Tolerance

Full sun to partial shade [3]

Successional Status

Considered a "weedy" species and a good colonizer [4]

Garry-oak Ecosystem Community Status

No information but probably a component of moister meadows in Garry oak ecosystems.

Uses

Site Rehabilitation

Possible reclamation species in moister pockets in selected sites [5]

Wildlife

Solitary bees of the family Megachilidae are mainly responsible for cross-pollination in natural populations. [2]

Landscaping

Mass-plant to create a showy display in a border or a rock garden [3]

First Nations

Infusion of root given to children for diarrhea; Eaten as cooked greens for “regular bowels”; decoction of roots and stalks taken before morning meal for constipation; compound with plant taken for “summer complaint”; infusion of plant taken for stomach troubles and stomach worms; mixed with other greens and eaten.

Propagation

Seed Propagation

Flowers are protandrous, thereby promoting out-crossing and at the same time reducing the chances for self pollination. S. idahoensis is an octoploid species and often exhibits a lag of up to 24 hours between anther maturation and stigma receptivity [2]

Fruit and Seed Collection and Extraction

Collect capsules by hand when ripe into collecting bags. Allow to dry further and then shake bags to extract seeds [6]

Seed Storage

Cold store at 5º C for up to three years [6]

Fruit/Seed Dormancy and Treatment

Seal seeds in a Ziploc-style bag or a Rubbermaid-style container in equal amounts of seed to perlite or vermiculite, and add just enough water to moisten the mixture. Cold stratify at 5º C for 8 to 12 weeks [6]

Outplanting Characteristics and Requirements

Out-plant in the fall to take advantage of natural moisture or plant in spring and provide supplementary watering. Successfully self-seeds in situ. Can be successfully divided in situ in the spring by simply teasing plants apart and replanting the resulting clumps [7]

Photo Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Henderson, 1976
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tenenbaum et al., 1994
  4. Alverson, 2002
  5. Winters, 2002
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Schultz et al., 2001
  7. R. Bridgeman, pers. comm.


Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team
University of Michigan Dearborn Native American Ethnobotany Database