Mexican Feather Grass
Stipa tenuissima is a swaying fine textured clump forming grass. The crisp green blades are arching and extremely narrow. Foliage can be semi-evergreen or deciduous depending on the climate.
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Stipa tenuissima is a swaying fine textured clump forming grass. The crisp green blades are arching and extremely narrow. Foliage can be semi-evergreen or deciduous depending on the climate. In summer narrow panicles of creamy long awned spikelets appear. By late summer or autumn plants are crowned with buff colored seedheads. This grass prospers in sunny sites with a wide variety of soils. Mexican Feather Grass is native to rocky open slopes, dry woods with shallow rocky soils, grasslands and forest clearings. Plants occur in New Mexico, west Texas and in Mexico, Chile and Argentina. Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 6-9. Stipa tenuissima forms upright tufted mounds of fine textured hair-like foliage. Foliage is less than 1/8” wide and up to 12” long. Leaves are glossy and usually rolled into a threadlike cylinder. The pale silvery green blades are very mobile with a tendency to wave in the slightest breeze. Narrow upright 4-12” flower panicles appear in summer. Panicles are composed of 60-480 pale yellow or silvery whiskered spikelets. The spikelets mature into feathery tan or gold seedheads. Mexican Feather Grassprospers in sunny or lightly shaded sites with fertile well drained soil. Plants adapt to a wide range of conditions – moderate salinity, drought, slightly acid or alkaline pH and heavy clay or sandy soil. This species thrives in coastal sites with excessive wind but is intolerant of sites with poorly drained soils. This is a cool season grass that may become dormant during extremely hot summer weather. Plants should be groomed or cut to the ground in early spring to remove tattered foliage and make way for new foliage. This grass is pest resistant and fairly unpalatable to deer and other herbivores. Blooming plants are about 1-2’ tall and 1’ wide. This species performs as a perennial through zone 7 but is usually a reseeding annual in areas with colder winters.