Sisyrinchium campestre

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: prairie blue-eyed grass 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Central North America
Zone: 2 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Pale blue to white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy

Culture

Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Prefers consistently moist soils that do not dry out, but drainage must be good. Will freely self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Plantings may be sheared back after bloom to avoid any unwanted self-seeding and/or to tidy foliage for remaining part of the growing season. Plants may need to be divided every 2-3 years to keep plantings vigorous.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sisyrinchium campestre is noted for its pale blue to white flowers and unbranched flowering stems. It is native to Missouri where it occurs in open woods, glades, prairies and grassy areas throughout the State. It is a clump-forming perennial that features a tuft of narrow grass-like leaves (to 3/16" wide) typically growing to 6" (less frequently to 10") tall. Clusters of pale blue to white flowers (to 1/2" across), each with 6 pointed tepals and a yellow eye, appear in spring on stalks growing from leaf-like bract atop unbranched flowering stems which are distinctively flattened. Sisyrinchium angustifolium, also a Missouri native, features violet-blue flowers atop branched flowering stems.

Genus name comes from the ancient Greek name for another plant.

Specific epithet means of the fields.

Though their foliage is grass-like, the blue-eyed grasses belong to the iris family not the grass family.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Best naturalized in informal garden areas such as cottage gardens, woodland gardens, wild gardens or native plant areas. Also effective in border fronts and rock gardens. Also effective as an edger for paths or walkways.