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Deschampsia cespitosa

tufted hairgrass add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Grasses, Ornamental Grasses

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 3'-4'

Bloom Time: June, July, August

Bloom Color: yellow

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: attracts birds, clumping, fall interest, mounding, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, semi-deciduous, stream margin plant, winter interest

Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)
  • Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)
  • Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)
  • Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)
  • Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)

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Description

Deschampsia cespitosa

Also known as:

tufted hairgrass

,

tussok grass

Scientific Synonyms:

Aira caespitosa, Deschampsia bottnica, Deschampsia caespitosa, Deschampsia glauca, Deschampsia mackenzieana, Deschampsia obensis, Deschampsia paramushirensis, Deschampsia pumila, Deschampsia sukatschewii

Description

Deschampsia cespitosa has a clumping habit and fine-textured, deep-green foliage. When mature, each mound is almost perfectly round, and 16” to 2’ tall and wide. In summer, stems will rise up to 20” above the foliage and bear delicate panicles of flowers ranging in color from green to purple and gold. Ripe seeds are tan in color, and their display remains attractive well into winter. As a bonus, this grass can be considered semi-evergreen, only requiring an optional haircut in early spring, and truly provides 4 seasons of interest.

Cultivation

Tufted hairgrass is a riparian species, and one of few native ornamental grasses that is at its best in part-sun to part-shade, and consistently moist to occasionally wet soil. Its habitat includes water margins, damp prairies, and moist open woods. This not a drought tolerant grass. Dry and hot conditions will considerably shorten its growing season, and its viability. It is slow-growing, long-lived, and non-aggressive. A good choice for a transitional border, or mixed in with flowering perennials that care more about soil moisture than they do about light levels. The blooming period occurs mid-summer. This is a cool season grass, and is about as hardy as a grass can be: Zones 2-7

Propagation

Propagate from seed, or by clump division.

Additional Notes

Deschampsia cespitosa is black walnut tolerant. Although not a food of choice, rabbits and deer might nibble on the plants early in the growing season before their preferred menu becomes available.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AZ, CA, CO, CT, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: MD
  • Rare: IN
  • Special Concern: CT

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Commelinidae
Order Cyperales
Family Poaceae Grass family
Genus Deschampsia hairgrass
Species Deschampsia cespitosa tufted hairgrass