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Stipa comata
About Needlegrass (Stipa comata) Nurseries Show All Photos HesperoStipa comata, commonly known as needle-and-thread grass, is a species of grass native to North America, especially the western third. It has a wide distribution spanning from northern Canada to Mexico. This is a perennial bunching grass producing erect, unbranched stems to about a meter in maximum height. The narrow flower cluster is up to 28 centimeters long in taller plants, with the mature spikelet bearing a spiraling, hairy, spear-shaped awn up to 19 centimeters in length. This is a grass of many habitat types, from grassland to pine forest. Young shoots provide a favored food source for black-tailed prairie dogs and black-tailed jackrabbits, and the grass is a good early spring graze for livestock before it develops its long, sharp awn. This species was described by the explorers during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Needle and thread grass is the provincial grass of the prairie province of Saskatchewan.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
2 - 4 ft (0.6 - 1.2 m)

Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Welldrained soils

Part Shade

Elevation ?
1773' - 10408'

Annual Precip. ?
4.6" - 40.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.63" - 3.50"

Coldest Month ?
22.3° F - 53.2° F

Hottest Month ?
45.4° F - 82.5° F

Humidity ?
0.79 vpd - 34.26 vpd


Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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