Xyris tennesseensis

Common Names:
Tennessee Yellow-eyed Grass
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Linda G. Chafin
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The conservation of Xyris tennesseensis is fully sponsored.
Linda G. Chafin contributed to this Plant Profile.


Tennessee yellow-eyed grass (Xyris tennesseensis) is a perennial herb with a fleshy, bulbous base, usually occurring in small clumps. Leaves are 5 - 18 inches (14 - 45 cm) long, - ⅜ inch (0.5 - 1 cm) wide, erect, flat or slightly twisted with swollen, pink or purple leaf bases overlapping up to one-third the length of the blade. The flower stalk is 12 - 28 inches (30 - 70 cm) tall, straight, unbranched, ribbed, and slightly flattened in cross-section; the upper stalk is angled or winged; a reddish-brown sheath, shorter than the leaves, encircles the base of the stalk. A single, cone-like flower spike, ⅜ - ⅝ inch (1 - 1.5 cm) long and bluntly oval, is held at the top of the flower stalk; it is composed of many tan, rounded, overlapping bracts; spikes usually produce only 1 flower per day, which emerges from beneath the rounded tip of a bract. The flower has 3 oblong, yellow petals; sepals do not show above the tip of the bract. Tennessee yellow-eyed grass often occurs with two similar Xyris species. Carolina yellow-eyed grass (X. difformis) has rough leaf surfaces and flat leaf bases. Twisted yellow-eyed grass (X. torta) has swollen leaf bases but its leaves are less than inch (0.5 cm) wide, twisted, with strongly raised veins.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research