Hesperostipa spartea Poaceae
Common name: Porcupine grass, Needle-and-thread grass
About this species:
H. spartea is a tussock-forming perennial grass, native to the prairies and plains of North America.
- Poaceae. H. spartea is in the grass family – a defining group in the prairie
- Perennial. H. spartea forms tussocks, from which new growth resprouts each year.
- Reproduction. Average time to flowering is unknown, though we discovered one specimen flowering in its second year.
- Unusual seed dispersal. The fruits can continue to move along the ground after falling from the culm. This movment is caused by the fluctuation of humidity throughout the day.
- Cool-season. Most growth occurs in the spring, with fruit ripening in late June through early July.
- Wind pollinated. Like other grasses, H. spartea is pollinated through the wind.
- Self compatibility. Unknown.
The USDA plant profile page for Hesperostipa spartea.
Team-members who have conducted research on this species:
This species was chosen as a species of interest in 2009, as much of the basic biology of cool-season prairie grasses is unknown.
Close-up of the flowers: the curved yellow structures are the anthers and the feathery white structures are the styles.
Another close-up of the flower