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Nolina microcarpa (Sacahuista)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Nolina microcarpa

Nolina microcarpa S. Watson

Sacahuista, Sacahuista Beargrass

Liliaceae (Lily Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Sacahuista Beargrass has numerous rigid, grass-like leaves growing from large, woody, basal stems. These coarse-bladed leaves, usually less than 4 ft. long, exhibit a yucca-like growth habit. White flowers are borne in dense, open clusters atop 3-5 ft. flowering stems. Plant lacks conspicuous stem.

In spite of its name, this is not a true grass but a succulent member of the lily family. It has been utilized to construct baskets by Native Americans. The name Sacahuista is derived from two Aztec words meaning "thorn grass": zacatl (grass) and huitztli (thorn).


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Flower scape up to about 5 feet tall.
Leaf: Gray-Green

Bloom Information

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


Native Distribution: NM to Washington Co. UT, AZ & n. Mex.; reported for CO, OK & w. TX
Native Habitat: Rocky, well-drained slopes; dry plains; 3000 to 6500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Drought tolerant.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Take individual offshoots from mature plants in winter. Plant seeds in cold frame or greenhouse in late January (cool weather). Seedlings do best if transplanted into 4-6 inch pots and given light shade the first season.
Seed Collection: Collect seeds when pod or capsule begins to dry. Spread seeds in thin layer and dry at room temperature. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers from up to one year.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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