Nodding Needle Grass is a 2-3' perennial bunch grass that grows in the foothills of California. Leaves glaucous,(covered with a thin film of wax, that makes the leaf appear more bluish, whitish) gray-green. It is very drought tolerant and showy. Our plants came from seed from Carrizo Plains, courtesy of a friend from there. The mother plants have done great in the nursery here. These are nice plants that work in interior gardens, all soil types, with little or no water. Use them in rock gardens, rock walls, cactus gardens, or dryland perennial gardens. Needs full sun to part sun. Do not plant it where the horses or cattle can get to it. This was one of the principals of the southern valley grassland before the Spanish and Yankee settlers brought their European grasses. The Stipas occur throughout California in many plant communities. They do not form large solid stands except in 20-50' clumps near seeps, but in most areas they stand as locus individuals. In the Coastal Prairie and Valley Grassland they occur with annual wildflowers, buckwheats (Eriogonum), Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum), Salt bush (Atriplex spp.), Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.). The desert plant communities have many of these same
genera along with the bunch grasses. For the bunch grasses to be stable long-term plant the Stipas at 3 ft. intervals with at least some of the wildflowers from the native community between the Stipa. If you can plant a perennial for every 5-10 Stipas all should be happy. If you want to plant an oak woodland with Stipas, plant them in the open areas between the evergreen oaks, and under the deciduous oaks. Weeds are a problem in these type plantings so keep an eye on them. Weed removal will be a constant, as alien plant species will seed in every year, to compete with the bunch grasses and the wildflowers.
(Syn. Nassella cernua)