Achnatherum coronatum (Thurb.) Barkworth
Giant Ricegrass, Giant Rice Grass, Needle-and-thread Grass
Poaceae (Grass Family)
Synonym(s): Stipa coronata
USDA Symbol: ACCO21
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
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 InformationBloom 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 ConditionsWater 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.
PropagationDescription: 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 DirectoryAccording 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 ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Achnatherum coronatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Achnatherum coronatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Achnatherum coronatum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-05-31
Research By: TWC Staff