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A plant that looks similar to grass with tiny white flowers extending from the ends.
Information icon White irisette flowers. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

White irisette

Sisyrinchium dichotomum

Appearance

White irisette is a perennial herb that lives in areas with partial sun. An individual white irisette plant is typically defined as a cluster of stems arising from fibrous roots. It generally grows from 10 to 16 inches tall and has winged stems. There may be 10 or more stems on one plant. White irisette flowers from late May through July. The seeds are very small and black; and three to six seeds are contained in each capsule.

White flowers bloom on the ends of vegetetation resembling blades of grass.
Direct view of white irisette flower. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

Habitat

The species is found on mid‑elevation slopes, characterized by open, dry-to-moderate-moisture oak‑hickory forests. White irisette usually grows in shallow soils on regularly disturbed sites (such as woodland edges and roadsides) and over rocky, steep terrain.

Range

White irisette is known from Henderson, Polk and Rutherford Counties, North Carolina; and Greenville County, South Carolina.

Conservation challenges

White flowers bloom on the ends of vegetetation resembling blades of grass.
White irisette flower. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

White irisette is threatened by many human‑caused disturbances, such as residential development, road construction, and possibly herbicide use. It is also indirectly affected by the disappearance of elk and bison, and possibly the suppression of fire. The elimination or suppression of these natural disturbances allows vegetative succession to occur, often accompanied by exotic invasive plants that out‑compete this native species.

Recovery plan

White irisette will be considered for removal from the endangered species list when there are at least nine geographically distinct, self-sustaining populations that are protected to such a degree that the species no longer qualifies for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Actions Needed

  1. Survey suitable habitat for additional populations.
  2. Monitor and protect existing populations.
  3. Conduct research on the biology of the species.
  4. Establish new populations or rehabilitate marginal populations to the point where they are self-sustaining.
  5. Investigate and conduct necessary management activities at all key sites.

Download the 1995 recovery plan.

How you can help

  • Tread lightly, and stay on designated trails. On some popular mountains, the vegetation has virtually been destroyed by human trampling.
  • Visit arboretums, botanical gardens, and parks to learn all you can about endangered plants and the causes of their decline.
  • Don’t collect or buy plants that have been gathered from wild populations.
  • Participate in the protection of our remaining wild land and the restoration of damaged ecosystems.
  • Be careful with the use and disposal of pesticides and other chemicals, especially near sensitive habitats.

Subject matter experts

Designated critical habitat

None designated.

Federal Register notices

The following Federal Register documents were automatically gathered by searching the Federal Register Official API with this species’ scientific name ordered by relevance. You can conduct your own search on the Federal Register website.

  • We're sorry but an error occurred. Visit the Federal Register to conduct your own search.

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