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Nolina lindheimeriana (Devil's shoestring)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Nolina lindheimeriana

Nolina lindheimeriana (Scheele) S. Watson

Devil's Shoestring, Devil's-shoestring, Ribbon Grass

Liliaceae (Lily Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Resembling a large clump of grass in the open and in light shade on limestone slopes and cliffs. Stem usually single, herbaceous, from a woody underground base. Leaves arising from the ground line or form the lower part of the stem, long, flat, and narrow, up to 30 inches long by 5/16 inch wide, with finely serrated margins, teeth visible under a 10x hand lens. Flowers about 3/16 inch wide, white to cream, numerous on slender branches from the upper part of the rather tall stem and forming a loose, open display 1 to 3 feet or more tall and several inches wide, opening in spring and early summer. Fruit a short capsule about 3/16 inch wide.

This species is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.


From the Image Gallery

37 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Flower: Flowers in 16 inch head.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas, Chaparral & brush country

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: This highly ornamental species forms a graceful rosette of narrow, rich green leaves. In late spring, it throws up several large spikesof yellow green flowers that transform into rows of attractive, papery seed capsules. This plant is extremely drought tolerant.


Use Ornamental: Accent tree or shrub, Winter-hardy
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High


Propagation Material: Root Division

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Evergreen native shrubs for poor drainage area in Cedar Hill, TX
March 21, 2008
Hi! I have one (big!) bed in on the front of my house. Due to the way the house/motorcourt is built, that area (when it rains as much as it did last year!) doesn't drain well. I now have to replac...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-MLE-4 Collected 2009-08-25 in Lampasas County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Web Reference

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-20
Research By: MAC

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