Nolina microcarpa     
Bear grass   
Agavaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: shaggy, clumping grass
Seasonality: evergreen
Size: 3-6ft, spread 8ft or greater
Leaves: narrow, grasslike; curly strings on tips; raspy teeth along margins; leaves grow from underground stems
Flowers: on terminal stalks; may or may not be higher than foliage; greenish-white clusters, bloom in early spring, flowers look like wispy mass
Bear grass
Nolina microcarpa
note curly threads on ends of leaf points (below)

threads on leaf ends
Fruit: papery, sheathed seeds in early summer
Stems/Trunks: not significant (stem is underground)
Range/Origin: southwest US, elevations of 3000-6500ft
Hardiness: to 0°F




not as attractive when old (10 years or so), gets spread out and center is thin

form has a superficial resemblance to Hesperaloe parviflora, see table below for identification characteristics:

 Hesperaloe parvifloraNolina microcarpa
leaf formrolledflat
margin detailsthreads along edge
curly on tip only
flowershowy, red,
held on tall stalk several feet
above foliage
white, inconspicuous

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This page was first created June 29, 2001 and last modified May 15, 2004.

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