News from the preserves, parks and backyards of Princeton, NJ. The website aims to acquaint Princetonians with our shared natural heritage and the benefits of restoring native diversity and beauty to the many preserved lands in and around Princeton.
All sorts of irises are blooming in gardens around town, but this post is about native irises found on wet ground.
While some very healthy specimens of northern blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) bloom in the Princeton high school ecolab wetland on Walnut Street,
a more subtle iris blooms in out of the way places where the ground stays wet enough. It looks like a rosette of grass about a foot high, but with tiny flowers at the end. Blue-eyed grass has the scientific name Sisyrinchium (accent is on the "rink" in the middle of the word). Learning to say the name can be as pleasurable as discovering a tiny blue flower at the end of what looks like a blade of grass.
A closer look reveals that the stem is flat like an iris leaf. I've long been content to stick with the genus name, but after consulting with Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, I'd say this one's Stout Blue-Eyed Grass (S. angustifolium), because the stem is branched.