The deep blue stars of this pretty plant are a beautiful feature of the fields near Santa Barbara, and in other parts of California, in summer; in fact they are so plentiful in some places that they are a menace to the farmers. They grow in clumps, about a foot tall, among the grass. The stems are somewhat branching, the leaves are shorter than the stem, and the bracts are about an inch long, green and sheathing. There are about seven flowers on each stem, in a loose cluster, each about an inch across and handsomer than their relations in the East. They vary in tint from bright blue to purple, with a yellow "eye, " and their divisions are prettily notched at the tips, with a little prong. The anthers are arrow-shaped, the style short, with three very small stigmas, and the small, oddly-shaped, little capsule is dark-brown when ripe, and perhaps suggested one of the common names, Nigger-babies. It is called Azulea and Villela by Spanish-Californians.
Sisyrinchium hellum. ORCHID FAMILY. Orchidaceae.