Sisyrinchium arizonicum Rothrock

Family: Iridaceae

Vernacular Name: Arizona blue-eyed grass

Synonym: Oreolirion arizonicum (Rothrock) Bickn.

Plants Seen or Cited: Sisyrinchium arizonicum is the only yellow-flowered species of the genus in NM. There are only three specimens at UNM - 2 from Catron County and 1 from Sierra County. The NMNHP database has three additional locations (NMC specimens?) - Two from Grant County and one from Catron County.

Remarks: This is a montane species that occurs in moist meadows, streamsides, and open places in coniferous woods. The wet habitats are frequently subjected to abusive grazing, but like its cousin - Iris, this Sisyrinchium is probably not palatable to livestock. It blooms in late summer and apparently is rarely seen in NM. It is more frequent (15 locations) in adjacent Arizona mountains - occurring in Cochise, Greenlee, southern Apache, and eastern Pima counties. It also occurs in the Sierra Madre of Mexico and is known from the states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Sinaloa (Cholewa and Henderson 1993). I have no information on its abundance in any of these places, but from its distribution alone, I would not call this a rare species.

Important Literature:

Cholewa, A.F. and D.M. Henderson. 1993. A new flora of Arizona in progress: Iridaceae, Part One - Sisyrinchium. Jour. Arizona-Nevada Acad. Sci. 27(2):215-218.

Information Compiled By: Robert Sivinski, 1998