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Needle-and-thread grass

Gramineae Stipa comata Trin. and Rupr.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

This is a native bunchgrass widely distributed over the Western States and common on dry, sandy, gravelly soils of the Northern Plains. Seed stalks may reach to 4 feet. Leaves are up to 12 inches long and 0.125 inch wide. Growth starts early in spring and continues through the summer when moisture is available. The seeds are sharp-pointed and have long, twisted thread-like awns. The shape of the seed and awn account for the name. The grass is palatable and readily grazed except when in seed. This period begins in June, and the seed is shed in July. During this period the sharp seeds penetrate mouth parts and hides of stock. Although the grass is widely adapted and has many useful characteristics, it is little used for reseeding because of injury to stock while in seed.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch