Blue-Eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium campestre

Iridaceae (irises)


Flowers small, 6-pointed "stars," variable in size; blue, violet, or white; arising at ends of unbranched stems. There is usually a yellow "eye" at the center of the flower. Blooms April-June. Leaves basal, grasslike, stiff, folded along midrib, upright, pale green.

Similar species: There are 4 species in the genus Sisyrinchium in Missouri, all called "blue-eyed grass," and some are difficult to tell apart. One species, S. atlanticum, is a Coastal Plain plant that lives in Missouri only in our southeastern counties.


Height: to 2 feet, but usually much shorter.

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A blue flower with six petals and a yellow center pokes up through a bed of leaf litter.
Blue-Eyed Grass in Busiek State Forest

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A six-petaled blue flower with a bright yellow center
Blue-eyed grass flower
Habitat and conservation

Occurs on prairies, glades, upland forests, pastures on thin soil, and along railroad tracks and other rights-of-way. This is the most common of Missouri's four species of blue-eyed grass.

image of Blue-Eyed Grass Image Map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide, though apparently absent from the southeastern lowlands.


This plant is also sometimes called "prairie blue-eyed grass" and "white-eyed grass."

Human connections

Many native plants make good native garden subjects. Please make sure that your plants come from ethical nurseries that buy from suppliers who cultivate their stock, and not from those who dig them unethically from the wild.

Ecosystem connections

Blue-eyed grass is a common prairie wildflower, and it, along with hundreds of other plants that make up the complex matrix of species in tallgrass prairies, are the native foods of what were once massive herds of American bison.