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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - August 06, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Tufted hairgrass seed for Houston TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

From Houston-Texas I am looking for a seed grass called tufted hairgrass ( deschampsia caespitosa ), if you can tell me where to find this kind of seed. Thank you for helping.

ANSWER:

Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass) is probably the grass you are looking for. Deschampsia caespitosa  is a synonym for this plant; that is, it may be an older name or one used in other parts of the country. As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile, it is not native to Texas. It is a cool-season grass, needs light shade and is the dominant grass in mountain meadows. If you were hoping to grow it in Houston, you probably will find you have too much heat, and no mountain meadows. 

When we are trying to help someone in Texas look for a native grass, we usually refer them to the Online Catalog of Native American Seed.  However, we looked at that, and Deschampsia cespitosa is not in their list of grasses available. Via Google, we found a nursery, Bluestem Nursery, which does carry the seeds of this grass. They are located in British Columbia, Canada, which probably tells you something about how viable that seed is going to be in Houston. We also found this website from the California Native Plant Link Exchange that lists a number of suppliers for the seed, all in California, obviously,  but most would do mail order.

For more information, see this site from North Carolina State University Tufted hairgrass  and pictures.

From our Native Plant Database Image Gallery:


Deschampsia cespitosa

 

 

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