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Genus of the Week

Week of June 8-14

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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
Visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genus:

Sisyrinchium - The Blue-Eyed Grasses

Subclass: Monocotyledoneae
Superorder: Liliidae
Order: Liliales
Family: Iridaceae: The Iris Family
Tribe: Sisyrincheae
Number of Species: About 100
Root: from the Greek sisuri+gxion, first named by Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher who succeeded Aristotle as teacher at the garden Lyceum.

The genus Sisyrinchium is considered the most primitive of the Iridaceae because of the normal design of its flowers; a perianth with 6 segments. The sepals and petals, which together make up the perianth, look identical. Blue-Eyed Grasses are also identified by the presence of a rhizome (underground stem) which doubles as an organ for food storage. Almost all of the species in this genus are restricted to the Americas.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Sisyrinchium species:


  1. Forey, Pamela. Wild Flowers of North America. New York, Gallery Books: 1991.
  2. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  3. Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.

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