WHITE-EYED GRASS
File Size: 63 KB
 
Sisyrinchium campestre  Bickn.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 4-16 inches
Family: Iridaceae - Iris Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Also Called: Prairie blue-eyed grass.
Stems: Tufted, erect, flat, slender, leafless, unbranched, waxy, with 2 edges or narrow ridges called "wings".
Leaves: Basal, narrow, grass-like, 3 to 10 inches long, less than 1/10 inch wide, pale green, glabrous, waxy, tapered to sharp points.
Inflorescences: Umbel-like clusters of flowers on thread-like stalks, terminal; sheathed at base by 2 bracts, erect, overlapping, green to dull pinkish purple, outer bract 1 to 2 inches long, inner bract somewhat shorter; tips pointed.
Flowers: Wheel-shaped, star-like, white to pale blue, centers yellow; perianth segments 6, less than 1/2 inch long; tips with short, awn-like points; stamens 3, united, anthers orange.
Fruits: Capsules, spherical, less than 1/5 inch across, 3-chambered, green to brown; seeds many, smooth or slightly pitted, black.
Habitat: Upland prairies and infrequently open woods.
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas.
Uses: Some Native American tribes treated stomachaches and hay fever symptoms with a tea made by boiling white-eyed grass.
Comments: The common name is a misnomer because this plant is not a grass. It is a member of the Iris Family.

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