E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Sisyrinchium littorale Greene
shore blue-eyed-grass (Alaska blue-eyed grass)
Iridaceae (Iris family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #3537)

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Distribution of Sisyrinchium littorale
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Species Information

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Perennial slightly tufted herb from a fibrous root; stems 1 or 2, simple or often branched, flat, 2-winged, 10-40 cm tall.
Mostly basal, the blades several, linear, 10-30 cm long, 2-5.5 mm wide, sheathing, the margins entire to fine-toothed, the tips pointed; stem leaves 1 or few at nodes, similar to basal.
Inflorescence of (1) 2 to 4 (5) showy, erect to nodding flowers on slender, smooth, 2- to 2.5-cm long stalks; flowers pale blue to more often deep violet-purple, of 6 distinct, narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblanceolate segments, these similar, 1.1-1.6 cm long, rounded to somewhat blunt, abruptly bristle-tipped, the inflated tubes below, 1-2 mm long; bracts 2, unequal, the outer one usually exceeding the flowers; filaments fused about 1/3 their length; anthers 1.2-1.7 mm long, pale yellow.
Capsules, egg-shaped to globe-shaped, (5) 6-8 (9) mm long; seeds numerous, globe-shaped to angled, dark brown to black, 1.2-1.5 (1.7) mm wide.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, streamsides and tidal flats in the lowland zone; infrequent in coastal BC; N to SW AK and S to SW WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sisyrinchium littorale

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 5 11
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 75
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
359 359 359
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(9), MH(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References