Xerophyllum tenax

Bear Grass

Erect sturdy flower stems from base of grass-like evergreen leaves. Plant large at bloom, nonflowering leaf clumps for many years. Leaves 1–2 ft. long, narrow, minutely toothed, tough, strong, smaller on stem. Inflorescence tops stout elongating stem somewhat wider in middle, ending with noticeable nipple. Flowers each with separate stalk, white, small, saucer-shaped, with 6 oblong petals opening wide, stamens extending outward. Found in dry openings, on ridges in open conifer forests. Leaves used by Native Americans both historically and currently for basket making, also sold as florist greens.

  • Rarity: Common
  • Flowering Time: Late Spring-Mid Summer
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Height: 1--5 feet
  • Habitat: West-Side Forest, Subalpine, Coastal, Meadow
  • Found In: Siskiyous, West Gorge, Olympic Np, Mt. Rainier Np, Crater Lake Np
  • Native: Yes