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Deschampsia cespitosa (Tufted hairgrass)
Makin, Julie

Deschampsia cespitosa

Deschampsia cespitosa (L.) P. Beauv.

Tufted Hairgrass, Tufted Hair Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Aira caespitosa, Aira cespitosa, Deschampsia bottnica, Deschampsia caespitosa, Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. genuina, Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. glauca, Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. orientalis, Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. paramushirensis, Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. parviflora, Deschampsia caespitosa var. abbei, Deschampsia caespitosa var. alpicola, Deschampsia caespitosa var. arctica, Deschampsia caespitosa var. glauca, Deschampsia caespitosa var. intercotidalis, Deschampsia caespitosa var. littoralis, Deschampsia caespitosa var. longiflora, Deschampsia caespitosa var. mackenzieana, Deschampsia caespitosa var. maritima, Deschampsia caespitosa var. parviflora, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. bottnica, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. cespitosa, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. genuina, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. glauca, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. obensis, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. orientalis, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. paramushirensis, Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. parviflora, Deschampsia cespitosa var. abbei, Deschampsia cespitosa var. alpicola, Deschampsia cespitosa var. arctica, Deschampsia cespitosa var. bottnica, Deschampsia cespitosa var. glauca, Deschampsia cespitosa var. intercotidalis, Deschampsia cespitosa var. littoralis, Deschampsia cespitosa var. longiflora, Deschampsia cespitosa var. mackenzieana, Deschampsia cespitosa var. maritima, Deschampsia cespitosa var. pallida, Deschampsia cespitosa var. parviflora, Deschampsia glauca, Deschampsia mackenzieana, Deschampsia obensis, Deschampsia paramushirensis, Deschampsia pumila, Deschampsia sukatschewii


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

The basal foliage clump of this cool-season, perennial grass is mostly evergreen with very fine-textured flower stalks rising 2-3 ft. The loose, open panicle is purplish-green to tawny at first but bleaches and remains effective in the landscape until late fall. Flowers have hair-like awns, thus the common name.


From the Image Gallery

2 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
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall when flowering.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , ID , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: BC , NB , NS , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Transcontinental Canada, s. to NC, WV, Great Lakes, ND, mts. of NM, AZ & CA
Native Habitat: Moist, high elevation sites; sandy or rocky shores; bogs & fens

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist to wet (rarely on drier) soils.


Use Wildlife: Dominant grass in mountain meadows, where it furnishes excellent forage.
Use Food: Seeds of Deschampsia species eaten by indigenous Californians.
Attracts: Birds

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Umber Skipper
(Poanes melane)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Propagate by seed or division.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is 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.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

When to plant grasses on Long Island, NY
December 06, 2009
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants; Are there any grass seeds that I can plant NOW, early December, on Long Island, NY? The planting environment is on and near a sandy bluff on a bayshore, where it can be windy ...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

North American Native Plant Society - Etobicoke, ON
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2012-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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