The First Iris of Spring

 

No, it isn’t the bearded iris, that sun-loving, hardy perennial beloved of gardeners, and it isn’t the familiar blue flag, a native, clump-forming iris that thrives in marshes, swamps, wet meadows, and ditches around the country.

This small and delicate beauty, known as blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium spp.), isn’t a grass at all, but another member of the iris family named for its grass-like leaves. At least a dozen Texas species exist; most show a typical yellow ‘eye,’ although the color of the flowers can range from blue, to purple, to rose and white. I suspect this one, found in a Brazoria county ditch, may be Sisyrinchium augustifolium.

Several clumps of these flowers were in full bloom on February 1, and I wasn’t the only one enjoying them. This little syrphid fly found the flower to be just his size: a perfect source of nectar and pollen.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Late-Winter Blues

Narrow-leaved blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

The spring flower known familiarly as blue-eyed grass isn’t a grass at all, but a member of the iris family.  In addition, its ‘eye’ is yellow, rather than blue, but no one seems to care, and blue-eyed grass remains its common name.

Most sources agree on March as the beginning of its bloom period, but this bud and flower were pushing the season a bit when I found them along the edge of FM 227 in Brazoria County on February 3.  The emergence of the flower at a ninety-degree angle is atypical; perhaps the bud was damaged by the cold temperatures.

While buttercups, a very few Texas dandelions, and ten-petal anemones are beginning to appear, this bit of color was a welcome surprise: a reminder that despite the continuing rain, cold, and gloom, spring is coming.



 

Comments always are welcome.