Blue Eyes Shining in the Sun

Although their season is coming to an end, the lovely spring ephemerals known as Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium spp.) still can be found. Not a grass at all, but a member of the iris family, their several species add a pleasing dash of color to the spring landscape. That color can range from a clear, light blue to a deeper shade of blue tinged with lavender or purple, but all are lovely.

As time goes by, other grasses begin to overtake these small, half-inch wide flowers, encouraged by the rising warmth of a changing season.  In its way, the casual tumble of flowers and grasses is as pleasing as any first view of earlier blooms. Some blue eyes may cry in the rain, but for a few short weeks these blue eyes shine in the sun.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Purple Haze

Deer-pea Vetch ~ Vicia ludoviciana

A far cry from the lead song featured on The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967 debut album, this ‘purple haze’ sings a different tune: emerging in spring to cover Texas roadsides, vacant lots, pastures, and woodlands. One of our most common vetches, it seems to color the air as it spreads along mowed roadsides; spied in vacant lots or pastures, it presents pleasing piles of purple. Everywhere, it attracts a variety of hungry pollinators.

Where it mounds upon itself, as in the photo above, the form of the flowers becomes less noticeable than the pretty color. A closer look reveals their lovely details, and especially their variety.

Walden West
Vacant lot ~ Dickinson, Texas
San Bernard Wildlife Refuge
Roadside, Lake Jackson, Texas
Colorado County roadside

 

Comments always are welcome.

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.