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Achnatherum coronatum

Achnatherum coronatum (Thurb.) Barkworth

Giant Ricegrass, Giant Rice Grass, Needle-and-thread Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Stipa coronata

USDA Symbol: ACCO21

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Giant Rice Grass or Needle-and-thread Grass is a medium-sized, cool-season, perennial bunchgrass with tall seed stalks and mostly basal leaves. Sharp-pointed seeds have twisted, flexible awns extending outward 4-5 in. Leaves are usually 8-12 in. long often dying back at the tip.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 7 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: The florets (flowers) of grasses are usually minute and thus inconspicuous. The panicle of this grass is purplish.


Native Distribution: B.C. to CA (east of the Cascades), e. to MN & TX
Native Habitat: Gravelly, rocky slopes, chaparral

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Coarse and medium-textured, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Needle-and-thread grass is very drought tolerant. The short-lived grass is extensively used for revegetating drastically disturbed sites and blow-out areas.


Description: Sow seed.
Seed Treatment: Germination is enhanced by acid scarification, but this treatment is not necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Achnatherum coronatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Achnatherum coronatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Achnatherum coronatum


Record Modified: 2023-05-31
Research By: TWC Staff

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