Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Texas Wildflowers - Blue Eyed Grass

Blue Eyed Grass -- actually not a grass, but this clumping wildflower plant can be found hidden among grasses. Rising to around 12 inches high, this small (but true blue) flower can still make an impact on a landscape - filling pastures, prairies and  roadsides with a sheet of blue on a sunny day.  Found mostly in southern states of the US and most regions of Texas, this wildflower can be an ornamental addition to cultivated gardens as well. Growing from bulbs, blue eyed grass is in the iris family; reseeding each year (can also be planted from purchased seed).

The flower may be modest, but bees and butterflies are drawn to it and especially birds when flowers give way to seeds (one source includes wild turkeys and prairie chickens).

As for medicinal uses - sources says the Native Americans used the roots for various intestinal ailments (stomach aches, diarrhea, etc).  Another source stated parts were used for fevers, but also mentioned the possibility of the plant being poisonous.

To preserve  by pressing - collect the fully open flowers after the morning dew has dried and before they have closed up for the day.  They don't fully open on cloudy days.

Photographing -- since they are small and delicate, any breeze will cause movement, and growing low to the ground you'll definitely be on your knees or crouch position to capture this one.  Following are a few suggested angles/shots to get you started:
- overhead, to include the yellow inside the flower
- wider shot if shooting a large area for the effect of solid blue
-from the side for closed buds or seeds/fruit

Blue Eyed Grass in various stages - cloudy morning
I used a 105mm macro lens (Nikon), handheld (dodging playing dogs) for these images. The first image is only slightly cropped, the second image is cropped a bit more. Images resized for uploading/web, so are not full resolution.

Sources I used for this blog post include:
Common Sense Homesteader
Dave's Garden
Native Plants
Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi (my go-to book for wildflower identification)
Images are my own - copyrighted
Are you discovering the small showy flower near you?  For my backyard it is a sure sign of spring.

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