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Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii

Olsynium douglasii (A. Dietr.) E.P. Bicknell var. douglasii

Douglas' Grasswidow, Grasswidow

Iridaceae (Iris Family)

Synonym(s): Sisyrinchium douglasii, Sisyrinchium inalatum


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The reddish-purple flowers of this blue-eyed grass are the largest of the species, up to an inch across. The six "petals" are all alike and tipped with points. Stems are from 6-16 in. high with grass-like basal and stem leaves. This perennial forms clumps from a short rootstock.

A member of the iris family (family Iridaceae) which consists of herbs growing from rhizomes, bulbs, or corms, with narrow basal leaves and showy clusters at the tips of long stalks. There are about 60 genera and 1,500 species, distributed in temperate and tropical regions. Among them, Iris, Freesia, Gladiolus, Bugle Lily, and Montbretia are popular ornamentals. Saffron dye is obtained from Crocus, and "essence of violets," used in perfumes, is extracted from the rhizomes of Iris.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall.
Leaf: Gray-Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Usually purple, occasionally white or pink.


Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Vancouver I., s. to n. CA & adjacent NV; also reported in Tooele Co., UT
Native Habitat: Springtime-moist sagebrush slopes, oak savannas, grasslands or open woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Drier (seasonally moist) soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Offshoots of the short rhizome or tufted leaf rosette divide well. Also started easily from seed although germination is low.
Commercially Avail: yes

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii


Record Modified: 2023-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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