Herbs & Plants

Blue-Eyed Grass

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Botanical Name :Sisyrinchium bellum
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Sisyrinchieae
Genus: Sisyrinchium
Species: S. bellum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names :Blue-Eyed Grass, Western Blue-eyed Grass, Californian Blue-eyed Grass

Habitat :Blue-Eyed Grass  is  common in  California and Oregon in and west of the Sierra Nevada, its range extending south into Baja California. In parts of its range, Western Blue-eyed Grass has previously been classified as Sisyrinchium eastwoodiae, S. greenei and S. hesperium, but these names are now considered synonyms.

Sisyrinchium bellum grows as a perennial plant in open places where there is some moisture, particularly grassy areas, though it can also be found in woodlands and at altitudes up to 2,400 metres (7,900 ft). Like other species of blue-eyed grasses that are locally dominant, it is generally known simply as “Blue-eyed Grass” within its natural range.

Blue-eyed Grass. Sisyrinchium bellum is a 1 foot tall perennial with 1 inch blue flowers in Jan.-June. It has small, iris-like leaves. It is widely distributed in California on open, grassy slopes. It likes full sun and garden water. It also can become very drought tolerant. It grows in sand to clay, coastal bluffs to interior grasslands. There is one spot east of here that gets 8 inches of rainfall each year and blue-eyed grass is doing fine. Cold tolerant to at least 0 as it will go winter dormant in bad years. Big Sky Nursery in Frazier Park says this one did great up there even in the -18 degree weather. We planted these in reflected sun in Taft with once per week or so water and they grew to 2 feet tall with 20 or so flowers at a time covering them for months.


The stems of Sisyrinchium bellum can grow as long as 60 centimetres (24 in), though they are often shorter. Its leaves are grassy and tufted. The flowers are 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) in diameter and purplish-blue, varying somewhat in color from a true blue to a definite purple; occasional white-flowering plants are found. It flowers from March to July. Dried in air, its seeds weigh between 1 and 4 mg. After flowering, it dies to the ground and is dormant over the summer.

Sisyrinchium bellum prefers some moisture and good drainage, but will tolerate summer dryness. It can be propagated by seed, and it self-sows. It can also be propagated by division of its rhizomes, and the flower stems can be rooted. It is moderately hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to 20 degrees F; -12 degrees Celsius.

Medicinal Uses:
The Ohlone used an infusion of the roots and leaves as a cure for indigestion and stomach pain, and similar uses are recorded from other Native American peoples.

The Coast Miwok have used tea made from blue-eyed grass to treat stomach-aches. Coastanoans and Hispanic Californians  have used the tea to reduce fever.  The Ohlone used an infusion of the roots and leaves as a cure for indigestion and stomach pain, and similar uses are recorded from other Native American peoples. The roots were used as a purgative.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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