Synonyms: S. angustifolium Other names: mountain blueeyed grass Nomenclature: montanum = of the mountains Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
General: tufted perennial with 1 to several stems, these 15-35 cm tall, stiff, flattened and winged, 3-4 mm broad, mostly broader than the leaves, simple, leafless, from short rhizomes and fibrous roots.
Leaves: basal, linear, grass-like, mostly 2-3 mm broad, shorter than the stems. The 2 leaf-like bracts below the flowers very unequal, the outer one usually exceeding all the flowers and about twice as long as the shorter one, united at the base for about 3.5 mm.
Flowers: usually 2-5 in an umbel-cluster, the flower stalks slender, hairless to glandular-short-hairy. The 6 tepals 6-12 mm long, hairless to slightly glandular-short-hairy on the outer surface, blue to bluish-purple, often with a yellow eye, oblong to oblong-obovate, abruptly bristle-tipped. Filaments joined to near the tip, the anthers yellow, 1-1.5 mm long. Ovary stalked-short-hairy.
Fruits: capsules, hairless or sparsely glandular-short-hairy, round to obovoid, 3-6 mm long. Seeds 2 to several per cell, blackish, 1-1.5 mm long, smooth to finely pitted.
Marshland and ditches, always where moist in the spring at least, plains to subalpine, in w., c. and n.e. parts of MT. Also from s. AK to Baja CA, e. across Canada and to the e. side of the Rocky Mts. in WY, CO and NM.
The leaves of mountain blue-eyed-grass are edible cooked. They can be mixed with other greens.
Native peoples used the roots of mountain blue-eyed-grass to make a tea for treating diarrhea, especially in children. A tea made from the entire plant was taken to cure stomachaches and to expel intestinal worms. Herbalists used these teas to treat menstrual disorders and for birth control. The plant has also been used as a laxative.