Page authors: Ben Legler, David Giblin
Olsynium douglasii
purple-eyed grass, grass-widow
WTU specimens
Other herbaria
WTU images

Distribution: Widely distributed throughout Washington, but more common east of the Cascades crest; British Columbia to California, east to Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.

Habitat: Coastal bluffs, prairies, open rocky areas, oak and ponderosa pine woodlands, sagebrush and juniper desert, where moist in early spring.

Flowers: March-June

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Description:
General:

Showy grass-like perennial with clumped stems to 30 cm tall; stems flattened.

Leaves:

Narrow (to 3 mm wide), flattened, sheathing at base, lower leaves bract-like.

Flowers:

Showy, 1-few in an umbel subtended by two erect spathe-like leaves; tepals 6, to 2 cm long, reddish-purple to pink (rarely white) with a satiny sheen; stamens 3, filaments fused and slightly enlarged at base; styles 3; ovary wholly inferior. Flowering March to June.

Fruits:

3-celled capsules to 1 cm long.

Identification Notes:

This species is distinguished by its reddish-purple or pink flowers and filaments connate only on the lower 1/3-1/2 of their length (vs. yellow or blue flowers and filaments connate nearly to their tip in our other species).

Comments:

One of our earliest blooming springtime wildflowers, and sure to catch your eye with its large cheerful blooms.

Accepted Name:
Olsynium douglasii (A. Dietr.) E.P. Bicknell
Publication: Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 27: 237. 1900.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Sisyrinchium douglasii A. Dietr. [HC]
Infraspecies:
var. douglasii – purple-eyed grass, grass-widow    Occurring west of the Cascades crest, up the Columbia River Gorge, and along the east base of the Cascades from Chelan County south in Washington; Vancouver Island to California.
var. inflatum – purple-eyed grass, grass-widow    Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; From south-central British Columbia to Nevada, from the east base of the Cascades to Idaho and northwestern Utah.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Olsynium douglasii in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Olsynium douglasii checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Olsynium douglasii atlas page.

CalPhotos: Olsynium douglasii photos.

USDA Plants: Olsynium douglasii information.

78 photographs:
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