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San Antonio River Authority
Aristida purpurea var. purpurea
Aristida purpurea Nutt. var. purpurea
Purple threeawn, Red threeawn
Poaceae (Grass Family)
Synonym(s): Aristida purpurea var. laxiflora, Aristida roemeriana
USDA Symbol: ARPUP6
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Vegetatively similar to Aristida purpurea, culms erect and 15-70 cm. tall.
Panicles: narrow but loose, 5-18 cm. long with small, delicate spikelets.
Bloom InformationBloom Color:
Purple Bloom Time:
May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep Bloom Notes:
Best appearance of flower
when backlit by sunlight
, UT Native Distribution:
Texas north to Utah, Colorado and Kansas, south to northern Mexico. Native Habitat:
Dry hills and plains, sandy or clayey soils.
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Moist Cold Tolerant:
yesConditions Comments: Native
clumping grass with fine textured leaves and purple flowers that are showy when the sunlight illuminates them in the summer and fall. It is drought tolerant and cold hardy to about 10 degrees F. Looks its best when grown with moisture and better garden soils. Wait to prune off dormant foliage unitl spring to enjoy winter structure. Combines well with annuals and perennials and adds softmess to the garden. The seeds have sharp points and will embed themselves into your socks.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Beautiful garden grass with delicate, showy purple seed heads.
Use Wildlife: Seeds for birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Larval Host: The Grass Family is an essential larval food for most branded skippers and most of the satyrs.
Deer Resistant: Moderate
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Seed in spring
Seed Treatment: No special pre-treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: If plant becomes ratty in appearance, cut back to 4 to refresh. Remove seed heads before they mature if seedlings are not desired.
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0805
Collected May 29, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
Record Last Modified: 2014-01-01
Research By: MWJ