California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Nassella pulchra, Stipa Pulchra - Purple Needlegrass

Nassella pulchra is the California State Grass. Purple Needlegrass is native to much of California and into Mexico. Nassella pulchra was a dominant part of our grasslands prior to the introduction of the wealth of weeds that now dominate our grasslands. In order to grow the Purple Needlegrass the primary issue is annual grass competition. Periodic mowing, once or twice a season, and naturally dry conditions, will keep the annual grasses at a competitive dissadvantage, call it simulated grazing. I mow Nassella pulchra at about 5-6 inches tall. And I time my mowing to happen before the annual grasses have seet seed. Depending on how the annual grasses are doing I will sometimes have to mow a second time, but after the first season this is rare. A string trimmer is my favored tool for this in the garden setting. Grasslands are typically found on heavy soils. Nassella pulchra prefers full sun. Nassella pulchra can be found in openings in the chapparal, oak woodland and mixed evergreen forest. Nassella pulchra was an important food resource for people as well as grazing animals. The Purple Needlegrass may be found at nurseries under the old name Stipa pulchra. Nassella pulchra is a larval food for the California Common Ringlet butterfly.

Nassella pulchra, Purple Needlegrass

Red florets and long awns of Nassella pulchra - Purple Needlegrass. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Other plant pages from the genus Nassela featured on this site:
Nassella speciosa
Nassella tenuissima