Nassella pulchra

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Nassella pulchra

Species Name: Nassella pulchra
Common Name: Purple-Needlegrass

A Southern California native bunchgrass that is both showy (purple seed heads) and tough (deep roots). Recommended for dry, hot areas and clay soils. The official state grass of California.

Plant Family: Poaceae
Plant Type: Grass (cool season)
Height by Width: 1-3' H x 2' W
Growth Habit: Bunchgrass
Deciduous/Evergreen: Summer dormant
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
Soil Preference: Adaptable
Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant to moderate
Cold Hardy to: 25 degrees F
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: Seedhead
Endangered?: Not listed
Distribution: Northwest, north and central foothills of the Sierra Nevada, southern Sacramento Valley, Central West, South Coast, Channel Islands, western Transverse Range, Western Peninsular Range, Baja
Natural Habitat: Oak woodland, chaparral, grassland below 4100'

Songbird iconA.jpg Oak iconA.jpg Clay iconA.jpg Slope iconA.jpg

Care and Maintenance


Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.
  • Harlow, Nora and Kristin Jakob. Wild Lilies, Irises, and Grasses: Gardening with California Monocots. Berkely and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. 2003.