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Blue Eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium bellum

About Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) Blue Eyed Grass is a 1 foot tall perennial herb that grows throughout California, usually in open places where there is some moisture, particularly grassy areas. It can also be found in woodlands and at altitudes up to almost 8000 feet. The stems can grow as long as 24 in, though they are often shorter. Its leaves are grassy and tufted. The flowers are small and purplish-blue, varying somewhat in color from a true blue to a definite purple; occasional white-flowering plants are found. It flowers from January to July. After flowering, it dies back to the ground and is dormant over the summer. It prefers some moisture and good drainage, but will tolerate summer dryness. It can be propagated by seed, and 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.

Blue eyed grass is very easy to grow and will easily reseed. Best to plant on flat areas, loamy soils that that hold moisture well. Even though it goes dormant in the summer, in dryer, southern areas, Blue eyed grass is more likely to survive the summer drought with occasional watering.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1 - 2 ft (0.3 - 0.6 m)

Max. Width
3 in (8cm)

Upright Columnar


Growth Rate

Summer Semi-Deciduous


Flower Color
Blue, Lavender, Purple

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Meadows , seasonally moist grasslands , grassy openings in chaparral or coastal sage scrub , understory of Yellow Pine Forest and Foothill Woodland , and on the margins of wetland/riparian areas

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-166' - 10141'

Annual Precip. ?
2.3" - 152.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 5.67"

Coldest Month ?
20.2° F - 61.0° F

Hottest Month ?
45.6° F - 90.5° F

Humidity ?
0.09 vpd - 48.67 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of sand and clay

Soil Texture
Clay Loam , Loam , Loamy Sand , Sandy Clay , Sandy Clay Loam , Sandy Loam , Silt Clay Loam

Soil PH
5 . 0 - 8 . 0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° ; F

Sunset Zones ?
3, 4, 5, 6*, 7*, 8, 9*, 10, 11, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Chamise, California Buckwheat, Lemonade Berry, Ponderosa Pine, Box Elder, Bigleaf Maple, Pacific Madrone, Manzanita species, Artemisia species, native grass species, Juncus spp., Allium spp.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Deep Organic

Propagation ?
Readily self-seeds.  For propagating by seed: 1.5 mos. stratification. No treatment for 3-6 yr. old seeds.

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Blue-eyed-grass, Western Blue-eyed Grass

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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