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
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." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 9 May 2004 .