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Sisyrinchium montanum (Strict blue-eyed grass)
Smith, R.W.

Sisyrinchium montanum

Sisyrinchium montanum Greene

Strict Blue-eyed Grass, Mountain Blue-eyed Grass, Common Blue-eyed Grass

Iridaceae (Iris Family)


USDA Symbol: SIMO2

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

A grass-like plant, forming small clumps. Leaves are mostly basal, linear and bright green. Six-petaled, violet-blue, star-like flowers are solitary or in small clusters at the tip of long flowering stalks. Plants grow 6-20 in. tall.

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.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Blue , Violet
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Bluish violet with yellow bases.


USA: CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , MA , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , PA , RI , SD , TX , UT , VT , WI , WY
Canada: AB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Que. to B.C., s. to NJ, n. IN, IA, KS & CO
Native Habitat: Moist, sandy meadows & open woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Grows readily from seed. Blue-eyed grass is not really a grass. It is an unusual member of the iris family because it is native to prairie grasslands, whereas most iris prefer wet lands.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Small perennials & grasses for a naturalized lawn
October 26, 2009
I am looking for native perennials and grasses that will grow no more than 8 inches tall that can be used in a naturalized lawn in Michigan. What 5 plants would be your first choice?
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

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 Sisyrinchium montanum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Sisyrinchium montanum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Sisyrinchium montanum


Record Modified: 2023-02-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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