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Nolina parryi (Parry's beargrass)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Nolina parryi

Nolina parryi S. Watson

Parry's Beargrass, Bigelow Nolina

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Nolina bigelovii var. parryi, Nolina bigelovii var. wolfii, Nolina parryi ssp. wolfii, Nolina wolfii


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A very dense cluster of tiny, whitish flowers grows from a rosette of many long leaves atop a short trunk-like stem. Parry’s bear-grass is a yucca-like plant, with large, woody, basal stems growing in a clump. The thick, gray-green, course-bladed leaves are 18-30 in. long. They surround a 3-5 ft. flowering stem. The densely flowered inflorescence is quite showy, bearing cream-colored flowers.

This is one of the largest and showiest of the 25 species in this Southwestern genus. Many are much smaller, resembling thick tufts of coarse grass on dry hillsides, and are often called Sacahuista (pronounced sac-ah-wee-stah), an Aztec (Nahuatl) name meaning thorn grass. The leaves were woven into baskets or mats, and the young stems were prepared as food. Parrys Beargrass is another common name for this species.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

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


Native Distribution: W. AZ, s. CA & Baja CA
Native Habitat: Dry slopes below 3000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Drought tolerant.


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.
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary.
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:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

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Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2010-01-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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