2017 Update: Hesperostipa Common Garden Experiment

This summer we found 52 basal Stipa plants and 209 flowering plants! The flowering Stipa plants had a median of 15 fruit per plant. Our largest flowering Stipa plant had 301 fruits and 31 culms. We harvested around 5000 fruits from experimental plot 1! These Stipa plants, or porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea) were planted as seeds in 2009 and 2010.

A Stipa collage created by Anna with collected fruits, a flowering plant, and Will and Wes searching for stipa.

Start year: 2009

Location: Experimental plot 1

Physical specimens: Fruits from the 209 flowering plants were broadcasted in experimental plot 2.

Data collected: There are currently 3 datasets in the Stipa folder in CGData (~Dropbox/CGData/Stipa/225_measure/measure2017/)

  • 20170628StipaSearchData.csv: 50 records from 28 June 2017. We searched for basal and flowering Stipa and recorded row and position, culm count, fruit count, aborted fruit count, missing fruit count, and notes.
  • exPt1StipaSearch20170705.csv: 200 records from 28-29 June 2017. This csv includes rows with position 859 and status “Other (Note)”, indicating the row was searched but no stipa was found. When Stipa was found, status, row, position, culm count, fruit count, aborted fruit count, missing fruit count, and notes were recorded.
  • 20171109StipaSearchData.csv: 69 records from 2 August 2017 and 9 August 2017. In this csv, predetermined rows and positions (where Stipa were found in previous years) were searched and the same information was collected as the other csvs. Since this was later in the season, all fruits had already dropped–but they could still be counted.


  • Josh Drizin’s MS thesis included a section on the hygroscopicity (reaction to humidity) of Stipa awns. View his presentation or watch his short video.
  • Joseph Campagna and Jamie Sauer (Lake Forest College) did a report on variation in Stipa’s physical traits within and among families in 2009

You can find out more about Stipa in the common garden and links to previous flog posts about this project on the background page for this experiment.


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