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
Physical and Chemical 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 leaf stems are about 1 m.
Resources and Citations
- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "Bear Grass." (Accessed 9 May 2004).