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Nassella tenuissima (Trin.) Barkworth

Mexican feather grass

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCyperalesFlowering plants including grasses
FamilyPoaceaeGrasses (but not sedges or rushes)
GenusNassellaDiminutive of the Latin nassa, “a basket with a narrow neck, a fish basket”

About plant names...

Mexican feathergrass is native to Texas, New Mexico, Mexico, and Argentina. Increasingly popular as an ornamental grass, it is potentially invasive in some areas.

Identification: This grass forms clumps 1-2′ (30-60 cm) high and about 1′ (30 cm) around. Feathery green flower clusters 6-12″ (15-30 cm) tall mature to silvery tan in color. The individual flowers each have a long, thin awn 2-3″ (5-7.6 cm) in length. Grass blades are 6-14″ (15-35 cm) long, almost tubular, tightly rolled, making the blades appear very fine, only half a millimeter in diameter.

Online References:


HEAR: the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

George and Audrey DeLange's Arizona wildflower site

Nassella tenuissima (mexican feather grass)

The tan-colored panicles of flowers are several inches long. · 8/1/2009 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine · ≈ 2 × 1′ (58 × 38 cm)

Stipa tenuissima Trin.


Nassella tenuissima description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Nassella tenuissima (mexican feather grass)

8/1/2009 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine · ≈ 3 × 2′ (95 × 63 cm)

Nassella tenuissima (mexican feather grass)

2/24/2010 · San Diego (Quail) Botanic Garden, Encinitas, Cali­fornia


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