Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Agrostis exarata

Spike bentgrass, Spiked bent, Spike red top

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Agrostis exarata (Spike bentgrass)
A tufted grass from 1-4 ft. tall. Culms may be slender to relatively stout and are topped with a seedhead that is usually dense and spikelike but sometimes interrupted and somewhat open. The branches are always strongly erect and green to purplish.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , KY , MT , NE , NV , NM , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , VT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC , SK
Native Distribution: AK to CA, e. to Alt., TX & Mex.; also locally to the Dakotas & NE
Native Habitat: Moist meadows; canyons

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Various moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available


Use Food: Seeds harvested for food by indigenous peoples.
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: The Grass Family is an essential larval food for most branded skippers and most of the satyrs.

Last Update: 2008-10-20