Needle and thread

Common Name
Needle and thread
Scientific Name
Hesperostipa comata
Scientific Pronunciation
hes-per-oh-STEE-puh kom-MAY-tuh
Plant Family
Plant Origin
Plant Type

Form:               Bunch grass, in small, widely spaced tufts. Its name comes from the 4- to 5-inch long twisted awn (a long needle-like projection extending from the fruit) which detaches from the seedhead with the seed and gives the appearance of a short needle and long thread.

Height:              1 to 3 feet

Seedhead:        Loosely spreading and 4 to 8 inches long

Seeds:              Seeds are long-lived; reproduces from seeds

Stems:              Erect, unbranched stems

Leaves:             Long, flat leaves 1 to12 inches long

Roots:              Shallow-rooted to medium-rooted. Profusely branched roots grow both vertically and laterally.

Ecology:           Prefers open sandy soil or sand dunes. Dormant in summer. Moderately to highly drought resistant.

Fire tolerance:   Needle-and-thread grass can sprout following fire, if the heat has not been sufficient to kill the underground parts.