Sisyrinchium californicum

Common Name: yellow-eyed grass 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Western United States
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. This perennial will not survive winters in St. Louis, but may be grown as a self-seeding annual in protected locations in the St. Louis area. It is frequently grown in medium to wet soils in full sun. But, it will also tolerate somewhat drier conditions. Even when grown in boggy sites, it generally prefers drier soils as of mid-summer. Tolerates light shade. Plants will freely self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Plants may not self-seed north of USDA Zone 6.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sisyrinchium californicum, called golden-eyed grass, is noted for its yellow flowers but most species of Sisyrinchium produce blue flowers. Although their foliage is grass-like, the plants in the genus Sisyrinchium belong to the iris family not the grass family. It is primarily native to moist-wet peripheries of ponds, bogs, marshes, lakeshores, moist grasslands and other moist sites along the Pacific coast from California north to southern British Columbia. This is a clump-forming plant that produces a tuft of narrow grass-like leaves typically rising to 8-12” tall. Yellow star-like flowers, each with 6 pointed tepals, bloom atop naked flowering stems that are distinctly flattened and winged. Heaviest bloom is in May-June, with lesser continued bloom often occurring into the summer. Flowers close up by noon each day.

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

Specific epithet means of California.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Grow as an annual in St. Louis. Effective in informal garden areas such as cottage gardens, woodland gardens, wild gardens, native plant areas, along ponds or in moist areas of water gardens. Also effective in border fronts and rock gardens.