Douglas Grass Widow (Olsynium douglasii) is a beautiful spring wildflower in the Iris family, and relative of the more common Blue-Eyed Grass. The Douglas Grass Widow flower is generally much pinker than Blue-Eyed Grass, and usually has pointier petal tips. But the bloom shade can vary from pink to purple to red, and even occasionally white. The flower shape can range from bell to star shaped. The Douglas Grass Widow can be found flowering in early spring at mid-elevations in rocky vernal-wet areas that dry to hard ground in summer, as well as grassy slopes, sagebrush, chaparral and Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) woodlands at lower elevations.
Douglas Grass Widow can easily be mistaken for a bunchgrass grass when it’s not flowering, but it is actually a perennial herb that can propagated by seed or bulb division, and grows to a maximum of 1.3’ tall. While it is not easily found in plant nurseries, it does make an excellent xeriscaping / dry rock garden planting that enjoys partial shade. It requires a dry summer dormancy period, so it’s really excellent for those unirrigated parts of your garden. In the wild it grows native from Southern British Columbia down to Northern California and east to NW Utah.