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Digitaria californica

Digitaria californica (Benth.) Henr.

Arizona Cottontop, California Cottontop, California Crab Grass, Cottontop

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Trichachne californica

USDA Symbol: DICA8

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A warm-season bunchgrass with erect culms from a knotty, felty base. Numerous leaves surround the 2-4 ft. culms which bear attractive white to purplish, cottony seedheads.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AZ , CO , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: TX & OK to s. CO, AZ & Mex.
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Deep, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.
Conditions Comments: A very drought tolerant species, rarely found in pure stands. It will repeatedly go to seed when moisture is available. Useful both as an ornamental and for improving rangeland.


Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

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:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2009-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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