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Kevin Doyle

White Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium albidum)

Life history

Species overview

White Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium albidum), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in prairies and open woods; dry to mesic environments. Blooming occurs from late spring to early summer. The optimal identification period for this species is May through July.

Synonyms: Sisyrinchium asheianum, Sisyrinchium bermudiana var. albidum, Sisyrinchium bermudianum var. albidum, Sisyrinchium floridanum, Sisyrinchium hastile, Sisyrinchium niveum, Sisyrinchium scabrellum


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Stems erect and somewhat smooth, 1.5 to 4 mm wide and distinctly winged. Most likely to be confused with prairie blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium campestre), which hs a solitary spathe instead of the usual 2 found in white blue-eyed grass.
  • Flower characteristics: Flowers are grouped in an umbel of up to six, but only a couple will flower at a time. Flowers are 6-merous, white to pale-blue with a yellow staminal column and up to 13 cm wide, on a pedicel of about 13 cm. Flowering stalks end in a pair of spathes, often purplish, which are sessile and made up of two claw-like bracts up to 25 mm long
  • Fruit characteristics: A ridged capsule 2 to 4 mm long
  • Leaf characteristics: Leaves are basal and narrow, almost as wide as, but shorter than, the flowering stems.


  • Blooming phenology: late spring to early summer
  • Fruiting phenology:
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is May through July


  • Growth form: Forb/herb
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Flowers are often open on sunny days between late morning and mid-afternoon.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for White Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium albidum). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Sisyrinchium albidum in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2S3
Global RankG5?
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in prairies and open woods; dry to mesic environments.
  • Soils: sandy or loamy soil

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with White Blue-eyed-grass. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Dry Prairie 3
Dry-mesic Prairie 2
Sand Prairie 2
Pine Barrens 1

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for White Blue-eyed-grass. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • No guidance has been developed for this species.


White Blue-eyed-grass Photo.

Photo © Kenneth J. Sytsma.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition