Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Blue-eyed grass: a closer look

with 11 comments

Blue-Eyed Grass Flower 5058

Click for greater clarity.

Here’s a closer look at the small wildflower in the genus Sisyrinchium that’s called blue-eyed grass even though it’s neither a grass nor, at least to my rods and cones, blue. As Eye see it, if the flower can be said to have an eye at all, it would be the yellow part at the center, but whoever dreamed up the name apparently thought of the whole flower as an eye, conceiving the central yellow as its pupil and the surrounding blue (i.e. violet) as its iris. And there we’ve finally hit on something, because botanists include the genus Sisyrinchium in the iris family.

Date: March 29, 2013.  Location: the Mueller Greenway in east-central Austin.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 14, 2013 at 6:15 AM

11 Responses

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  1. The word-play’s as delightful as the flower. It never fails to make me smile, even if I’m feeling blue.


    April 14, 2013 at 6:36 AM

  2. […] here’s a blue-eyed grass flower that a spider had mostly sewn up. If you click the image for better clarity, you can see some […]

  3. Nice photograph. This flower looks like a colchicum wide open.


    April 14, 2013 at 4:26 PM

  4. Maybe not *exactly* blue. Blurple?


    April 14, 2013 at 7:48 PM

  5. Hi. My favorite flower and I love the Latin name. Jane

    jane tims

    April 15, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    • Your comment about the scientific name sent me scurrying to Shinners and Mahler’s Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas, where I found that Sisyrinchium was a “name used by Theophrastus for some plant, later transferred to this genus; possibly derived from Greek: sys: with, and rhynchus, snout or beak; significance not known.” Is there something specific about the name that makes you like it?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 15, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      • Hi. I am generally interested in the scientific names. I did a poem about ‘Blue-eyed Grass’ (Sisyrincium montanum) a few years ago and included the generic name in the poem because it has so many distinct syllables and because it seemed a good name for the warrior girl the poem suggested. The poem and a bit more about Blue-eyed Grass is at:

        jane tims

        April 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        • The warrior girl connection is a new one for me, and not one I ever would have come up with, but we each bring unique associations with us when we visit wildflowers. Thanks for the link and the additional information.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM

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