Lingering Bits of Spring

Dwarf Blue-eyed Grass

Even though the blooms of our most recognizable irises faded long ago, some diminuitive members of the Iris family still can be found. Dwarf Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium minus), a common flower of Galveston’s Broadway cemeteries, still pops up on the west end of the island, in places like the Artist Boat Coastal Preserve and Lafitte’s Cove, where protective shade exists.

Other names for the flower, including Pink-eyed Grass and Pink Blue-eyed Grass, suggest the difficulties of naming a plant solely by the color of its blooms. In fact, when I came across this single pink flower at the Artist Boat, I thought it must have been a variant of Blue-eyed Grass. In fact, it’s another Sisyrinchuim species: Annual Blue-eyed Grass, or Sisyrinchium rosulatum.

Just to add to the color confusion, Annual Blue-eyed Grass is generally described as being pink, white, or violet, but it also can be found in yellow.

In any event, the pink and yellow combination in this tiny, half-inch wide flower is delightful: a reminder of a season that seems to have ended entirely too soon.

Annual Blue-eyed Grass


Comments always are welcome.

52 thoughts on “Lingering Bits of Spring

    1. This was such a complex little flower I wanted to show its details from more than one perspective, but I’m quite fond of that view you prefer. For one thing, the flower was only about three or four inches tall, and I’m always a little (too?) impressed with myself when I manage to get down to ground level for a photo.

  1. Always amazes me and the beauty of the flowers on the most mundanely named grasses. Glad you found these remnants from spring and sharing their beautifully captured photos.

    1. The transition into summer has happened a bit early this year, and our droughty heat has taken many flowers early as well. That makes finding some pretty color even more satisfying; I’m glad you enjoyed this one.

    1. Actually, no: it’s a spot dedicated to coastal preservation, and much of it is closed to the public, apart from regularly scheduled events. The ‘boat’ part of the name refers to kayak tours through the marsh that they offer, and various workshops and projects emphasize artistic ways to communicate the importance of preservation. Here’s a link to their site. It’s your kind of place, that’s for sure. I often visit their hiking trail; last Saturday, I discovered a baby Black-necked Stilt and a parent at one of the ponds. There will be photos!

      1. oh those stilts will be a precious gift — that will be nice! i’ve opened the link for the artist boat page.. yes it sounds great.

        i have been at poza honda, and our country remains in turmoil with the indigenous protest. the owner is unable to leave the city, as it’s quite dangerous on the highways where the blockades are placed.

        yesterday i did a little flinstone cartoon flip on a primitive trail and landed on my hip.. a small stick/branch ‘rolled’ under my foot and propelled me like a roller skate. i’m hobbling today but was basically ok.. it was a good test of my bone strength i suppose. tomorrow after a meeting at the nearby refuge, i’ll return to poza honda and keep helping until the owner is able to travel back to this area.

        1. That small branch rolling under your foot is an almost exact equivalent of a line on a boat ‘rolling’ underfoot. A hose can do it too if it’s full of water; otherwise, they just squish a bit, unless I hook my toe underneath one, and then all bets are off. I laughed at your reference to bone strength. I can think right now of four tumbles that served as good bone density tests — without any cost at all. Well, except for the days of recovery. Like you, I always ended up basically ok, which is sort of amazing.

          I read a few news reports after seeing your comment. I don’t run first to Al Jazeera, but they did one report with interviews with several Indigenous people from different areas. Their comments sounded remarkably like many I hear from people here: not the financially secure, but the service industry people who are living on the edge, and losing their grip.

    1. When I came across photos of S. rosulatum from Louisiana showing a completely yellow flower, and then came across the name S. micranthum, I decided not to confuse myself further and stuck with what I was certain of; it’s a very pretty flower.

    1. Thanks so much. I was happy to find this little gem, and happy to be able to obtain some pleasing images of it — not to mention being happy to be able to get up from the ground without undo difficulty!

  2. That is really tiny – who would have thought it was an iris. So well seen and photographed

    1. We have several native wildflowers that are in the iris family, and I love them all. I’m hoping I’m not too late to find my very favorite yet this year; I’ve seen it only in east Texas, and this is its month. It’s sometimes called the propeller flower; you can see a couple of photos of it here.

    1. Indeed. And your comment reminded me of another old saying: “This, too, shall pass.” Sometimes we have to adjust to that passing, and sometimes we hope for it.

  3. For anyone who thought that botany was easy….think again! Sometimes the common names are so varied, interchangeable and confusing the only way to be certain of the species is to use the scientific name – and many seem to balk at that. I always encourage participants on my walks to learn the scientific names – and some even pay heed!

    1. You’re absolutely right about the value of scientific names: as long as the taxonomists manage to let things rest a bit between changes! I bogged down a bit with S. rosulatum, since it once was known as as S. micranthum; now, that’s considered a synonym. But the flowers are just as pretty, and at least the genus is certain!

  4. Your photos really show off the pretty little flower. My question got answered about how you took the photo. I take all my pictures in my yard and have a little stool for the lower shots.

    1. I would have needed a teeny-tiny stool for this one, since it was only about 4″ tall. No matter. As long as I remember to check for thistles, nettles, and fire ants, it’s usually easy enough to get down and up. I have met some really nice people over the years — folks who stop to see if the lady in the ditch is dying or dead!

  5. Hard to believe these flowers are that tiny! Thank you for making them bigger so we can see the details. It’s so confusing when they name flowers by color, isn’t it? “Pink Blue-eyed Grass”?? Argh!

    1. On the other hand, remember when they added the color ‘sky-blue pink’ to the Crayola box? Maybe the people who came up with that ambiguous name for the flower were trying in their own way to capture one of those colors that can’t really be described. That said, they certainly are detailed, and a nice mix of colors for something so tiny — I was thrilled to find this one.

    1. Thanks, Dina. I know that many of the flowers I exclaim over are common enough, but if I’ve never seen one before, it’s a rarity to me! I spent a good bit of time with this one, since I knew I’d not have another chance to see it.

    1. Like most of us, it will fade away as the heat builds; they like the cooler weather. That’s all right. We have some summer flowers coming on now, and if we could get any rain at all — or temperatures below 100 — there will be plenty to enjoy.

  6. Beautiful photos, Linda. Until the oven was turned up to HIGH, my columbine were still blooming. I wonder with this hot, hot, hot summer, will they even survive?

    1. Do your columbines usually bloom through the summer? I’ve only seen them in east Texas and outside Kerrville, and I really don’t know anything about their habits. I do know that my water bowl has become a neighborhood attraction for the squirrels and possums as well as the birds. When I see the squirrels sitting in that bowl, I know exactly how they feel.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed seeing them, and thank you for saying so. Your screen name brought a smile. My Iowa grandparents sometimes spoke of ‘feeling puny.’ The word feels midwestern to me!

    1. This was my first time to see this pink version. I was completely taken, and spent a good bit of time trying to get decent photos, since I may never see another — at least, in my ‘territory.’ They seem to be more common in other areas. Now I ‘m hoping to come across a yellow one.

  7. All that grass with eyes (of whatever color) would make me paranoid. (The night has a thousand eyes, as is well known, but who knew the grass had a thousand eyes, too?) Still, I like the shape of the flower with its goblet like center (full of bee goodies, no doubt!),

    1. Now I have that song playing in my head, and it probably will for some time. As for the flower, all those eyes aren’t going to see much, unless their vision is very, very good. They hardly raise above ankle height, and mostly would have a view of shoelaces. I love the centers, too. In this one, the color really helps to emphasize the shape.

    1. The flowers were so small, it seemed good to try and eliminate as many distracting elements as I could, and I was pleased with the results. Thanks for noticing!

  8. I missed our blue-eyed grass so far this year. It hasn’t showed up in the places I ordinarily see it but maybe there is still time. It would be wonderful to see a pink variety and your images show its beauty.

    1. Some of our blue Sisyrinchium species are quite common, but this pink was a surprise. Pure pink or blue flowers aren’t always among my favorites, but the combination of yellow and pink pleased me. It would be beautiful done in glass.

  9. Good timing with these (for me, anyway). I had a great time this year photographing what appear to perhaps be Dwarf Blue-eyed Grass or something very close to it, but I’d yet to attempt to identify it so this certainly points me in the right direction. Thanks much for that.

    I love these little flowers. I love the shape and color transitions of the petals and I love the pattern made where the yellow changes to blue /pink/violet. I most often try to shade flowers when I’m able so I can get the softer look you’ve shown with the annual variety. But in this case I really like the shadow created by the top petal bending over in that first photo of the blue. It’s such a small thing but for me it really adds a lot.

    1. I’ve found it hard to distinguish the species of our blue versions of this genus; the fact that so many sites refer to their tendency to hybridize sometimes makes me feel better. It can be even more complicated; when I discovered that this pink version of the Annual Blue-eyed grass can appear as yellow — well, sometimes I revert to “pretty flower!” and let it be.

      I have tried shading flowers from time to time, but down here, the summer sun is bright and harsh, and sometimes there’s no ability to do that. If I had used my body to shade the pink and yellow flower, there would have been no way to compose the images as I did, so it was experimentation time! Let’s just say the number of images that got trashed was substantial.

    1. I do enjoy knowing the names of plants, and try my best to be accurate, but there are times when it’s best for non-botanist me to stop at the genus — or make clear that confusion exists! Besides, these pretty little things don’t care what we call them. They’re too busy congratulating each other on their beauty!

      1. Plant names are confusing for gardeners too – especially when the powers that be keep changing them. (Usually to something I can’t pronounce, never mind remember or spell!)

    1. Isn’t that fun? I love getting down to a flower’s level. It’s like getting on the floor to play with a child or a pet — you can do so much more!

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