CPC Plant Profile: Reflexed Blue-eyed-grass
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Plant Profile

Reflexed Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium dichotomum)

  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Iridaceae
  • State: NC, SC
  • Nature Serve ID: 131951
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/09/1992

This species is a narrow endemic found only at four sites in the upper piedmont region of North Carolina. These populations are extremely threatened. Two of them are within highway rights-of-way and another is in an area that was planned for residential development by the private owners. This last population is sadly the largest containing about a thousand plants. One of the populations is on public land maintained by the NCDOT which may be this species only hope of survival. This irisette has only held on in areas that are regularly disturbed such as power line maintenance (without the use of herbicide) and road maintenance areas. Unfortunately road maintenance is known to hurt these plants so artificial disturbance is clearly not as good as the original natural disturbance that this species relied on (probably fire and grazing by native animals). (USFWS 1990, NatureServe 2001)

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the upper Piedmont of North Carolina, where the populations are restricted to basic soils. As recently as 1942 the species was reported to be fairly common, but suppression of natural disturbances and rapid, widespread development have drastically reduced the amount of suitable habitat within its range. Much of the species' habitat is also being encroached upon by non-native kudzu (Pueraria lobata) and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). There are currently about 30 occurrences believed extant; 2 of these are protected within the boundaries of Chimney Rock Park. Some populations are surviving in power line and road rights-of-way, where they are vulnerable to herbicide application and other maintenance activities.

  • 01/01/2010

Road maintenance Erosion along steep roadbanks Natural succession due to fire suppression Residential and industrial development Removal of the tree canopy Trampling by tourists Herbicide use Highway expansion and improvements Invasive non-natives

  • 01/01/2010

There are only four sites left consisting of less than 1400 individuals. (USFWS 1990) 1 population of < 100 individuals (Chimney Rock, NC) 1 population of ca. 100 individuals (Pacolet River, NC) 1 population of ca. 200 individuals (Sugarloaf Mountain, NC) population of ca. 1000 individuals (White Oak Mountain, NC)

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

A recovery plan was written in 1995.


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Taxon Sisyrinchium dichotomum
Authority Bickn.
Family Iridaceae
CPC Number 7705
ITIS 196391
Common Names reflexed blue-eyed grass | white irisette | wishbone blue-eyed grass
Associated Scientific Names Sisyrinchium dichotomum
Distribution Polk, Henderson and Rutherford Counties, N.C. (USFWS 1990), and Greenville County, S.C.
State Rank
State State Rank
North Carolina S2
South Carolina S1

Rich, basic soils in clearings and the edges of upland woods where the canopy is thin and where erosion has removed the deep little layer typical of these sites. (USFWS 1990)

Ecological Relationships


Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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