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Sisyrinchium californicum

Sisyrinchium californicum (Ker Gawl.) Aiton

Golden Blue-eyed Grass

Iridaceae (Iris Family)

Synonym(s): Hydastylus borealis, Hydastylus brachypus, Hydastylus californicus, Sisyrinchium boreale

USDA Symbol: sica8

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

Pale-green, iris-like, basal leaves arise from creeping rhizomes which expand the colony year by year. Leaves turn black upon drying. 6-16 in. stems bear clusters of small, star-shaped golden-yellow flowers. Individual flowers last only one day but are produced in great quantities. 1 or few delicate, bright yellow flowers, resembling 6-pointed stars, held above leaves atop a flat stem in 2 broad bracts, generally with 1 flower in bloom at a time; 1 cluster of narrow, sword-shaped leaves near base.

There are only a few yellow-flowered Sisyrinchiums in the West. Two species from Arizona resemble S. californicum, both called Yellow-eyed or Golden-eyed Grass: S. cernuum, found in southeastern Arizona and Mexico, has petal-like segments less than 1/4 of an inch (6 mm) long, with flowers on slender bent stalks; S. longipes, found from northern Arizona to Mexico, has petal-like segments 3/8-1/2 of an inch (8-13 mm) long, with flowers on erect stalks. Elmer's Golden-eyed Grass (S. elmeri), which has stems generally less than 1/8 of an inch (2 mm) wide, is found in much of California. Arizona Golden-eyed Grass (S. arizonicum) is a robust plant with branched stems bearing yellow-orange flowers more than one inch (2.5 cm) wide; it grows in the mountains of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun


Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Coastal areas from Monterey Co., CA to Vancouver I., B.C.
Native Habitat: Freshwater marshes; low, moist places

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Moist to wet soils.
Conditions Comments: Reseeds readily.


Description: Propagate by seed or divisions.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No treatment is required.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

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:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2013-12-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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