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Achnatherum lettermanii

Achnatherum lettermanii (Vasey) Barkworth

Letterman's Needlegrass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Stipa lettermanii

USDA Symbol: ACLE9

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The culms of this bunchgrass, occurring in large tufts, rise 1-3 ft. among leaves of equal height. The seedhead is slender and narrow with spikelets bearing a distinctive awn extending far beyond the grain.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WY
Native Distribution: Gallatin Co., MT to OR, s. to n. NM & s. CA
Native Habitat: Open woods & dry flats at high altitudes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Useful for revegetating upper elevation sites.


Description: Sow seed.
Seed Treatment: Seed does not require pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed 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 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
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 lettermanii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Achnatherum lettermanii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Achnatherum lettermanii


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

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