Hesperostipa comata (Trin. and Rupr.) Barkworth

needle and thread grass 10JL12-01

characteristics

A densely tufted bunchgrass with narrow, mainly basal, leaves. This grass produces a large seedhead consisting of a mass of long awned spikelets. The thread like seed extensions bend with changing humidity causing seed to disperse. When released the awn twists, as moisture increases it untwists. During the drying process it continues twisting into the ground. Fibrous roots grow vertically and laterally reaching 0.9 - 1.5 m deep.

AKA speargrass and Stipa comata.

137,857 seeds/pound; starts from seed, container.

T SSN H W sun soil H2O fire N2 pH summer fall flower (seed)
P CW 0.9 B S M-C D ••• - 6.6-8.4 green white white-bronze

habitat

Grassland, fields, forest edges.

uses

Young shoots are a food source for jackrabbits and prairie dogs.

Native American children played arrows with the sharp pointed awns.

Provincial grass of Saskatchewan. It was chosen because it is the dominant grass of the Province’s mixed grassland eco-region and is also common in the moist mixed grassland and aspen parkland eco-regions.

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common > name = have on site
T = type: A = annual | B = biennial | P = perennial | SS = subshrub | D = deciduous | C = coniferous
██ = cold stratify | ██ = cold stratify & scarify | ██ = plant directly | ██ = scarify | ██ = not from seed
SSN = season: C = cool | W = warm | Y = late
H = height (in metres) | W = width (in metres) | B = bunch | S = sod | SB = sod/bunch
sun: S = full sun | S/PS = sun or partial shade | PS = partial shade | SH = full shade
soil: F = fine | M = medium | C = coarse
H2O = moisture requirement: D = dry | M = moist | W = wet | Z = aquatic
fire = fire tolerance: - = unknown | X = none | = some | •• = moderate | ••• = high tolerance
N2 = nitrogen fixing: = yes
summer = foliage colour | fall = foliage (stem) colour | flower (seed) = flower (seed / fruit) colour, if conspicuous
pH = acidity - alkalinity