Hesperostipa spartea (Stipa spartea)
Soil: Xeric (Dry)
Sun: Full – Part
Height: 1-4 feet
Type: Cool season
Suggested Uses: This is a fascinating grass that is excellent for restoration purposes. It prefers dry soil and grows well on sandy and gravelly sites. The seeds and awns closely resemble porcupine quills, hence the name. The awns twist up like a corkscrew as they dry. They always fall seed-side down and the corkscrew awn helps them “drill” themselves into the ground. The mature seeds are sharp – watch out for young children and livestock.
Native Range: Native to the Midwest U.S. Native throughout the state of Minnesota.
Wildlife value: An important early spring and late fall forage for wildlife and livestock. The seeds are a food source for a variety of birds and small mammals.
More information: USDA plant profile