Olsynium douglasii (A. Dietr.) E.P. Bicknell var. douglasii
satinflower (Douglas' grasswidow)
Iridaceae (Iris family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jim Riley     (Photo ID #28623)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii
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Species Information

Perennial tufted herb from a fibrous root; stems somewhat compressed, simple, 10-30 cm tall.
Basal leaves reduced, bractlike, blades lacking or sometimes 1-2 cm long; stem leaves 2 to 4, linear, on the lower 1/2 of stem, sheathing, the blades 10-30 cm long, 1.5-3 mm wide, the tips long-pointed.
Inflorescence of (1) 2 or 3 showy, nodding flowers on slender, flexuous, 3- to 4-cm long stalks; flowers reddish-purple, of 6 distinct oblanceolate to egg-shaped segments, these similar, 1.5-2.5 cm long, 5-nerved, abruptly pointed, the tubes slightly inflated below, 1-2 mm long; bracts 2, unequal, the upper one usually exceeding the flowers; filaments fused about 1/3 to 1/2 their length; anthers 3-7 mm long, yellow.
Capsules, 5-9 mm long; seeds numerous, egg-shaped, brown, 1.5-2.5 mm long.
Two varieties occur in BC

1. Perianth segments dark red-purple; filament tubes only slightly enlarged above the base; flowers commonly 2 per stem; plants of SW BC .....................var. douglasii

1. Perianth segments pale purple; filament tubes with an inflated area just above the base; flowers commonly 3 per stem; plants of SC BC.......................... var. inflatum (Suksd.) Cholewa & Henderson

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat and Range

Vernally moist rocky bluffs, grassy slopes and Quercus garryana woodlands in the lowland zone (var. douglasii) and sagebrush slopes in the montane zone (var. inflatum); var. douglasii - infrequent on S Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands; var. inflatum - rare in SC BC; var. douglasii - S to N CA; var. inflatum - S to UT, NV and OR.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Sisyrinchium douglasii A. Dietr.
Sisyrinchium inalatum A. Nelson