Xerophyllum tenax

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 Xerophyllum tenax subsp. var.  bear grass, squaw grass, soap grass, quip-quip, Indian basket grass
Habit: [[Category:]]
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Height: 15 cm to 150 cm
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Lifespan: perennial
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USDA Zones: to
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Melanthiaceae > Xerophyllum tenax var. ,

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Xerophyllum tenax, Nutt. Two to 5 ft. high: lvs. about 2 lines wide: raceme 1-2 ft. long; pedicels longer: perianth segms. scarcely equaling the stamens. Calif. to Brit. Col. June, July. B.R. 1613 (erroneously as X. setifolium).

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Xerophyllum tenax (syn. Helonias tenax) is a grasslike perennial in the family Melanthiaceae, closely related to lilies. It is known by several common names, including bear grass, squaw grass, soap grass, quip-quip, and Indian basket grass. It can grow to 15-150 cm in height and grows in bunches with the leaves wrapped around and extending from a small stem at ground level. The leaves are 30-100 cm long and 2-6 mm wide, dull olive green with toothed edges. The slightly fragrant white flowers emerge from a tall stalk that bolts from the base. When the flowers are in bloom they are tightly packed at the tip of the stalk like an upright club. The plant is found mostly in western North America from British Columbia south to California and east to Wyoming, in subalpine meadows and coastal mountains, and also on low ground in the California coastal fog belt. It is common on the Olympic Peninsula and in the Cascades, northern Sierra Nevada and Rockies.



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