Bear grass

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Contents

Description

A tall bushy perennial grass (Xerophyllum tenax) native to the western North America. Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at sub alpine and low alpine elevations. It has a tall, center stalk with a slender head of small white flowers that only appears every 5 to 7 years. The leaf stems and roots from the grass have been used for basketry. The stems turn a creamy white color when dried in the sun.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Xerophyllum tenax; turkey beard; elk grass; squaw grass; soap grass; Indian basket grass

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Other Properties

Plants grow to heights of 1.5 m (4.5 ft). Flower stalk can reach 2 m (6 ft).

Leaves have toothed margins.  Lengths of cut stems are about 1 m.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "Bear Grass." Encyclop√¶dia Britannica. 2004. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Premium Service. 9 May 2004 .

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