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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Achnatherum lettermanii - Letterman's needlegrass

Synonyms: Stipa lettermanii

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Meadows and on dry slopes, from chaparral to subalpine habitats.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest
Elevation: 5200 - 8500 feet

Similar Species: Hesperostipa comata

General Description

Desc: Densely tufted, slender, bunchgrass which often forms large clumps. It begins growth early and remains green throughout a relatively long season.
Identification notes: Awns less than 1 inch; blades involute (rolled); plants tufted.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 12 to 24 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - contracted  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Aug - Oct

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: One-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: 1/4 inch to 1 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: Y

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedheads are 4 to 7 inches long, pale green and loosely flowered. Awns are twice-bent and rough to the touch.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Involute  
Blade Notes: Blades are 2 to 8 inches long with some short, fine straight erect hairs.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: Y  Ligules: Membranous and hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Ligules are very short, without tufts of hair, squared to rounded.

Forage Value: Generally most palatable early in the season before the foliage becomes coarse and wiry. It is rated fair in energy value and poor in protein content.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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