Sisyrinchium campestre (Prairie Blue-eyed Grass)
|Also known as:||White-eyed Grass|
|Habitat:||sun; prairies, meadows, along railroads|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||4 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across, pale blue to white with 6 tepals (3 petals and 3 sepals all similar), yellow at the base, with a column of yellow-tipped stamens protruding from the center. Tepals are mostly rounded at the tip with a small, needle-like projection at the very tip. A few flowers are clustered at the top of a stem, the flower stalks enclosed within 2 leaf-like bracts (spathe). The outer spathe is 1 to 2 inches long and about twice as long as the inner spathe. The edges of the outer spathe are typically separate all the way to the base. The spathe color is green to purplish brown.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are narrow, toothless, grass-like blades in a basal tuft, each 3 to 10 inches long, or about as long as the flower stems. The flower stems are distinctly winged, about 1/8 inch wide, and smooth along the edges. One or more stems arise from the base.
Prairie Blue-eyed Grass can be distinguished from the other Sisyrinchium species in Minnesota primarily by its pale flowers, and dry, sandy habitat.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake and Rice Creek Regional Parks, Ramsey County, and at Lost Valley SNA, Washington County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?