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ORRIN MORRIS: Find blue-eyed grass at Panola Mountain State Park

BLUE-EYED GRASS Sisyrinchium atlanticum

BLUE-EYED GRASS Sisyrinchium atlanticum

The warmer weather of this week instills hope in me. Spring is coming and winter's grip of last weekend is lessening.Already, the heleborous is blooming, the crocus and the periwinkle are budding, and very soon the blood root and dandelion will spread forth their leaves.

Yes, spring is coming. May we join with the psalmist who wrote, "On the glorious splendor of Thy majesty, And on Thy wonderful works, I will meditate" (Psalm 145:5).

Allow me to lead you to a wonderful work of The Creator that is not as evident about us as the flashy wildflowers mentioned above. It blooms in the late spring but is introduced now for the benefit of those of us who need another cause to hope that spring will come soon.BLUE-EYED GRASS

Sisyrinchium atlanticumMost varieties of blue-eyed grass look like tall grass, 15 to 20 inches high. One rarely thinks of looking at grass to see if it is blooming, but blue-eyed grass does bloom.

The small blue or violet-blue flowers with yellow centers measure about -inch across. The flower has six petals each with a thorn-like point, though one botanist declares there are only three petals and the other three are bracts.

Blue-eyed grass has long narrow leaves that look like blades of grass but they aren't because it is in the iris family. The leaves range from 4 inches to 20 inches in length and are about -inch at their widest.

You will find blue-eyed grass in moist areas of meadows or low lying woods sometime between May and July. The best specimens of this wildflower that I have seen are at Panola State Park, near the visitor's center.

There are at least eight varieties of blue-eyed grass in Georgia. The one featured today is the Eastern blue-eyed grass. The others include the white variety (S. albidum), narrowleaf blue-eyed grass (S. angustifolium), needle blue-eyed grass (S. capillare), coastal plain blue-eyed grass (S. fuscatum), roadside blue-eyed grass (S. langloisii), needletip blue-eyed grass (S. mucronatum), and Nash's blue-eyed grass (S. nashii).

For greater detail of their location, Google "USDA plants" on the web.

In the introduction, I noted that blue-eyed grass was not an evident or flashy part of our landscape. However, with at least eight different plants in this kingdom, I am challenged to look more closely hereafter and to spend more time meditating on the wonders of God's creation.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com or call him at 770-929-3697.