Sisyrinchium idahoense var. occidentale

(Idaho Blue-eyed Grass)


Sisyrinchium idahoense var. occidentale, Hoosier Pass, Park Co. 5460


Sisyrinchium idahoense var. occidentale, Hoosier Pass, Park Co. 5464


Sisyrinchium idahoense var. occidentale, Hoosier Pass, Park Co. 5465

Scientific Name Sisyrinchium idahoense var. occidentale USDA PLANTS Symbol SIIDO
Common Name Idaho Blue-eyed Grass ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 530395
Family Iridaceae (Iris) SEINet
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Description Life zones and habitat: Plains to subalpine (images below found in alpine zone): moist meadows, stream banks, edges of springs.
Plant: Erect perennial up to 16 inches tall, unbranched grass-like stems.
Leaves: Basal linear leaves; outer spathe 1.2 to 1.7 times length of inner spathe, 0.6 to 1.2 inches long.
Inflorence: Single flower on each stem, 6 tepals (3 petals and 3 sepals all similar) with rounded ends and pointed tips, pale blue to blue-violet (rarely white) with yellow bases, each 0.4 to 0.6 inches long; central column of bright yellow-tipped stamens.
References: Minnesota Wildflowers, Flora of North America, and "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield.
Note: There are no Sisyrinchium species that exactly fit the plants and location in which those below were found. S.idahoense var. occidentale seems to be the closest match. Another possibility is S. montanum, however no references to white or even pale blue tepals were found, and the lengths of the spathes of S. montanum are much longer than the plants here. These were found in a moist, south-facing protected area beside willow bushes at about 11,800 ft. In the literature, S.idahoense var. occidentale has been found as high as 10,000 ft.; S. montanum as high as 11,000 ft.
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© Tom Lebsack 2024

Banner photo: Ten Mile Range and Rhodiola integrifolia (King’s Crown) in Summit County