Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh look, it's the blue-eyed whuh??

On this cold, arctic April day, I discovered that the blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium idahoense, was flowering in the front garden. Except that's not what it was. It's in the place where blue-eyed grass usually flowers, and is superficially similar (grass-like leaves, six petals, bluish), but is something else, something I didn't plant.

It's Spring Star, Tristagma uniflora, a small plant with a large list of synonyms, the most commonly-used being Ipheion uniflora. It's in the Liliaceae, a native of Argentina and Uruguay, and now a North American garden plant. (What sort of hemisphere-lag must it have endured, moving here?) It grows from a bulb, and patches expand as bulbs divide, but it also self-seeds. Where the seeds might have come from, I'm not sure. I've never seen it in any nearby planting. Perhaps a gift from above? (Starlings and other birds perch on the overhead wire whose drip-line crosses the garden.)

In any case, finding it was a nice surprise on an unusually bleak, wintery day.

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