Grass Widows

Genus Sisyrinchium
Iris Family (Iridaceae)

Grass Widows

Grass Widows
(Sisyrinchium douglasii)

This plant must not be very common, because I have seen it in only one place. Some of the books don't even mention it.

The plant is not very tall and the leaves are grass-like, so when it is not in bloom it is very hard to spot.

However the flowers are very showy -- they are a bright purplish pink, with a yellow center. They are about an inch across.

Grass widow flowers
		   April, 2003

They have three petals and three sepals (all alike -- called "tepals"). Usually three or four blossoms occur on a single stalk. They bloom in the spring.

The reference books say that the plant likes a moist habitat. However these specimens were found on top of a dry gravel bar, growing among the sagebrush.