Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blue-eyed grass

It seems a little unfair, really, to focus on a single flower in May when the world is alive with blooms of every color, size and shape. One of the stars of the moist woodland show began its short flowering period recently, electric blue flowers opening on sunny days, closing at sunset.

Four species of blue-eyed grass, plants of the genus Sisyrinchium grow in Missouri. One is restricted to the far eastern edge of the Ozark Highlands and the Mississippi River counties south of St. Louis; two are common throughout mesic woodlands, streambanks, roadsides and ditches statewide, while S. atlanticum is somewhat restricted to the Bootheel and scattershot Ozark counties. Though members of the Iris family characteristically possess rhizomes or bulbs, Sisyrinchia have fibrous roots instead.

While this common little wildflower appears in moist soils -even in yards- throughout the Ozarks, I confess that the image sent through the post earlier this week of blue eyed grass in a horticultural setting left me stunned. I wanted to share, so the photo above was taken in my yard as I beat the dying light, while the one below came from my colleague's garden. I've never seen a specimen look like that in a woodland or prairie....

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