Blue-Eyed Grass

Family: 
Iridaceae (irises)
Description: 

Flowers small, 6-pointed "stars," variable in size; blue, violet, or white; arising at ends of unbranched stems. There is usually a yellow "eye" at the center of the flower. Blooms April-June. Leaves basal, grasslike, stiff, folded along midrib, upright, pale green.

Similar species: There are 4 species in the genus Sisyrinchium in Missouri, all called "blue-eyed grass," and some are difficult to tell apart. One species, S. atlanticum, is a Coastal Plain plant that lives in Missouri only in our southeastern counties.

Size: 
Height: to 2 feet, but usually much shorter.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs on prairies, glades, upland forests, pastures on thin soil, and along railroad tracks and other rights-of-way. This is the most common of Missouri's four species of blue-eyed grass.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide, though apparently absent from the southeastern lowlands.
Status: 
This plant is also sometimes called "prairie blue-eyed grass" and "white-eyed grass."
Human connections: 
Many native plants make good native garden subjects. Please make sure that your plants come from ethical nurseries that buy from suppliers who cultivate their stock, and not from those who dig them unethically from the wild.
Ecosystem connections: 
Blue-eyed grass is a common prairie wildflower, and it, along with hundreds of other plants that make up the complex matrix of species in tallgrass prairies, are the native foods of what were once massive herds of American bison.