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Pale Yellow-eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium striatum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Iridaceae (Iris)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, mountains, seaside, woodland.

Yellow, 6 petals
Clusters of pale, star-shaped yellow flowers which go all the way up the stem. The centres of the flowers are a deeper yellow or golden yellow.
The fruit is a capsule. It produces the seeds.
A perennial, clump-forming evergreen plant with broader leaves than the similar looking Yellow-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium californicum). The leaves of Pale Yellow-eyed Grass are greyish-green, narrow, linear and sword-shaped. The stems are erect.
Other Names:
Argentine Blue-eyed Grass, Dwarf Blue-eyed Grass, Narrow-leaved Blue-eyed Grass, Satin Flower, Yellow Mexican Satin Flower.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Sisyrinchium striatum, also known as the dwarf blue-eyed grass or the narrow-leaved blue-eyed grass, is a species of herbaceous perennial plant in the iris family (Iridaceae). It is native to California and Oregon in the United States, and can be found in a variety of habitats, including coastal prairies, grasslands, and oak woodlands. The plant has long, narrow leaves and small, blue or violet flowers that are borne on tall stems in the spring and summer. Sisyrinchium striatum is considered a vulnerable species and is protected under the California Endangered Species Act.


Pale Yellow-eyed Grass, or Sisyrinchium striatum, is a plant species native to North America. It is part of the iris family, and its scientific name derives from the Greek words "sisyros" meaning swine, and "rynchos" meaning snout, referring to the pig-like shape of its seed pods.


Pale Yellow-eyed Grass typically grows up to 1.5 feet tall and has narrow, grass-like leaves that can reach up to 10 inches in length. Its delicate flowers have six petals that are a pale, creamy yellow color, with a distinctive dark yellow or brown center, giving it the "pale yellow-eyed" appearance. The flowers bloom from May to August, and the plant produces a small, round seed capsule that can be used for propagation.


Pale Yellow-eyed Grass thrives in open, sandy or rocky areas, including prairies, meadows, and woodland edges. It is often found growing in dry, well-drained soils and can tolerate both acidic and alkaline soil conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade and is relatively drought-tolerant once established.


While Pale Yellow-eyed Grass does not have any significant medicinal or culinary uses, it is a valuable addition to a wildflower garden, rock garden, or naturalized area. It can be used as a groundcover or planted in small groups, where its delicate flowers can be appreciated up close. Its narrow, grass-like leaves provide a striking contrast to other plants, and its ability to tolerate dry soils makes it a great choice for xeriscaping.


Pale Yellow-eyed Grass is not currently listed as endangered, but it is considered a rare species in some areas of its range. Habitat loss due to development and agriculture, as well as invasive plant species, can threaten the survival of the plant. Gardeners and landscapers can help support the conservation of Pale Yellow-eyed Grass by planting it in their gardens and avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides that can harm native plant species.

More Information

In addition to its aesthetic qualities and ecological importance, Pale Yellow-eyed Grass has some interesting cultural and historical significance.

Native American tribes in the regions where Pale Yellow-eyed Grass grows used it for medicinal purposes. The Choctaw tribe used a decoction of the roots as a laxative, while the Cherokee used a root tea as a wash for sore eyes. The Creek tribe used a root infusion to treat diarrhea and other digestive issues.

The plant also has a place in the history of botanical illustration. The Scottish artist, botanical illustrator, and author, William Curtis, included an illustration of Pale Yellow-eyed Grass in his 1787 publication "The Botanical Magazine." The magazine featured a series of high-quality, hand-colored illustrations of plants, and it played an important role in popularizing botany and horticulture in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Today, Pale Yellow-eyed Grass remains an important species for ecological restoration and habitat conservation efforts. It provides habitat and food for pollinators, including bees and butterflies, and its seeds are a food source for small mammals and birds.

ale Yellow-eyed Grass also has some interesting adaptations that allow it to thrive in its natural habitat. The plant has a fibrous root system that helps it to anchor in loose, sandy soil, and to absorb water and nutrients from the soil efficiently. This root system also allows it to tolerate drought conditions and survive in areas with low rainfall.

The narrow leaves of Pale Yellow-eyed Grass help to reduce water loss through transpiration, allowing the plant to conserve moisture and survive in dry conditions. The leaves also contain chloroplasts, which are specialized organelles that allow the plant to carry out photosynthesis and produce energy from sunlight.

Another interesting adaptation of Pale Yellow-eyed Grass is its ability to self-pollinate. The plant produces flowers with both male and female reproductive structures, allowing it to fertilize itself and produce seeds without the need for external pollinators. This adaptation is particularly useful in areas where pollinators may be scarce, or where wind or other environmental factors make pollination difficult.

Pale Yellow-eyed Grass is a fascinating plant species with many interesting adaptations and ecological roles. Its ability to thrive in a range of soil and environmental conditions, as well as its historical and cultural significance, make it a valuable addition to any garden, naturalized area, or conservation project. By learning more about this important species and supporting efforts to conserve its habitat, we can help ensure its continued survival and contribution to the ecological diversity of North America.

One other interesting aspect of Pale Yellow-eyed Grass is its taxonomy and classification. It is a member of the family Iridaceae, which includes over 2,000 species of plants, including other well-known garden flowers like iris and crocus. Within the genus Sisyrinchium, there are over 150 species of plants, many of which are native to North and South America.

Pale Yellow-eyed Grass is a particularly widespread species, found in a range of habitats from the Great Plains to the Atlantic Coast. However, like many plant species, it is vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities like land development and agriculture. Efforts to conserve and protect natural areas where Pale Yellow-eyed Grass grows can help to preserve not only this species, but also the many other plant and animal species that depend on it.

Finally, Pale Yellow-eyed Grass is an example of the importance of preserving and celebrating native plant species. By planting native plants like Pale Yellow-eyed Grass in our gardens and landscapes, we can help to support healthy ecosystems and promote biodiversity. Native plants are often better adapted to local conditions and provide important habitat and food sources for local wildlife. In addition, they can be beautiful and unique additions to any garden or naturalized area.

In conclusion, Pale Yellow-eyed Grass is a fascinating and important plant species with many interesting qualities and adaptations. By learning more about this species and supporting efforts to conserve its habitat, we can help to ensure its continued survival and contribute to the ecological health and beauty of our local landscapes.