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Aristida purpurea var. longiseta (Red three-awn)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Aristida purpurea var. longiseta

Aristida purpurea Nutt. var. longiseta (Steud.) Vasey

Red Three-awn, Fendler Three-awn, Purple Threeawn

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Aristida longiseta, Aristida longiseta var. rariflora, Aristida longiseta var. robusta, Aristida purpurea var. robusta


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The culms and leaf blades of this densely tufted, perennial bunchgrass rise 8-20 in. in height. The seedhead is narrow and erect with ascending branches. Three long, reddish bristles extend from each flower.

Taller and more robust populations occurring eastward to Minnesota and west to Washington and California were once referred to as Aristida longiseta var. robusta.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , KS , LA , MN , MT , NC , ND , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , SC , SD , TX , UT , WA , WY
Canada: BC , SK
Native Distribution: B.C. & e. WA to the Dakotas & IA, s. to OR, AZ, TX & Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry hills & plains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

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 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Aristida purpurea var. longiseta in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Aristida purpurea var. longiseta in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Aristida purpurea var. longiseta


Record Modified: 2022-11-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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