|Blue-eyed Grass is a native perennial that hides along the Little Miami River on both sides of the bike trail.|
Even though Blue-eyed Grass is a member of the iris family, it's easy to understand why its common name marks it as grass. The leaves and stems are flat with parallel veining, just like blades of grass.
|Although it has grass in its name, and its flat stems and leaves look like blades of grass, Blue-eyed Grass is actually a member of the iris family.|
The parts on an iris always come in groups of three, so it's misleading when you first look at this flower. It appears to have six petals, but really it has three petals and three sepals that look just like the petals. (Usually sepals are green. They encase the flower when it's a bud. When petals and sepals look alike, they are called tepals. So our little flower has six tepals.) It also has three stamens, but with Blue-eyed Grass the yellow stamens in the center of the flower are close together and appear as one. (Botany in a Day, p 201, by Thomas J. Expel).
|The delicate flower of Blue-eyed Grass nods in the gentle breezes of late spring.|
|Blue-eyed Grass closes up as the day progresses. I photographed these flowers in the early afternoon, and they were still going strong. In another couple of hours, the blooms would have closed.|
I love the poem "Blue-eyed Grass," by Mary Austin. It appears in her book, The Road to the Spring (collected poems), but a notation in the book said the poem was also published in St. Nicholas (a children's magazine) in the June 1904 issue, and it was slightly different. I found a bound collection of the 1904 issues of the magazine on Amazon and ordered it so I could see the differences. I always liked the poem in The Road to Spring, but after reading the version in St. Nicholas, I might like it more. You can decided which version you like better:
Blue-Eyed Grass Blue-Eyed Grass
BLUE-EYED grass in the meadow BLUE-EYED grass in the meadow
And yarrow-blooms on the hill, And yarrow-blooms on the hill,
Cattails that rustle and whisper, Cattails that rustle and whisper,
And winds that are never still; And winds that are never still;
Blue-eyed grass in the meadow, Blue-eyed grass in the meadow,
A linnet's nest near by, And the laden bee's low hum,
Blackbirds caroling clearly Milkweed that runs to be first in the field
Somewhere between earth and sky; Before the butterflies come;
Blue-eyed grass in the meadow, Watersnakes making lacy rings
And the laden bee's low hum, Round a cardinal-flower's red spear,
Milkweeds all by the roadside, And blue-eyed grass in the meadow
To tell us summer is come. To mark the noon of the year!
by Mary Austin by Mary Austin
St. Nicholas, June 1904, pg 703 The Road to the Spring: Collected Poems
(A children's magazine) of Mary Austin, pg 209