Genus of the Week
Week of June 8-14
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
Family: Iridaceae: The Iris Family
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:
- Stop by Virtual Bermuda to learn more about
S. bermudiana (Bermudiana), an endemic species that is the "unofficial national
flower of Bermuda".
- Hawaii also has an endemic species of Sisyrinchium:
- Find out about
S. atlanticum, oddly enough, from a web site at Hiroshima University.
- The Northern Prairie Science Center has information about
- Texas A&M University has several pictures of Sisyrinchium species in their Vascular
Plant Image Gallery. Click here and
scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- The Cyber-Plantsman has designated a species of Sisyrinchium as one of the most
- The IBM Almaden Research Center has a photo of
S. californicum taken from the land surrounding their labs.
- Forey, Pamela. Wild Flowers of North America. New York, Gallery Books: 1991.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- 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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