This species of the Iridaceae family is native to the eastern North America and ranges from Maine south to Florida and Mississippi. It is also native to the eastern provinces of Canada. The preferred habitat is “moist sandy shores and grasslands” and apparently my ditch at the bottom of the hill meets the criteria. Sand washes down from the gravel and rock above and it is definitely moist as well as an abundant grower of grass.
They can grow to a height of 1 to 1 1/2 feet. The flowers are blue or deep blue-violet with yellow centers, blooming March-July. Native Americans used the roots to make tea for diarrhea in children and the plants to make tea for worms or stomachaches. Some of the species are used as laxatives (Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Easter and Central North America, 2000, Foster, S. & Duke, J. A.).
And yes, it will grow right in the midst of poison ivy, which is abundant along the ditch at the bottom of the hill, where it branches out from the trees it loves to entwine. I need a goat, because while raccoons may eat everything else not caged on this hillside, they don’t seem to care for poison ivy. Cannot really blame them, can we?
PS: Betty, I will add a few stems of Sisyrinchium atlanticum to the flower vase for dinner.