Feather grass

Green needle grass,
Stipa viridula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Tribe: Stipeae
Genus: Stipa

Some 300, see text.


Lasiagrostis Link
Orthoraphium Nees
Patis Ohwi
Sparteum P.Beauv., nom. inval.
Stupa Asch., orth. var.
Timouria Roshev.
Trichosantha Steud., nom. inval.[1]

For other senses of this term, see Speech transmission index, Luigi Stipa, Stipa-Caproni

Stipa is a genus of around 300 large perennial hermaphroditic grasses collectively known as feather grass, needle grass, and spear grass. They are placed in the subfamily Pooideae and the tribe Stipeae.

Many species are important forage crops. Several species such as Stipa brachytricha, S. arundinacea, S. splendens, S. calamagrostis, S. gigantea and S. pulchra are used as ornamental plants. One species, esparto grass (Stipa tenacissima), is used for crafts and extensively in paper making.


Species of the genus Stipa can occur in grasslands[2] or in savanna habitats. Certain specific prairie plant associations are dominated by grasses of the genus Stipa, which genus often lends its name to the terminology of some prairie types.[3] In some areas of the western USA grasses of the genus Stipa form a significant part of the understory of Blue Oak savannas, and were even a more important element prehistorically before the invasion of many European grasses.[4]

Selected species

Formerly placed here

  • Achnatherum aridum (as S. arida)
  • Achnatherum calamagrostis (L.) P.Beauv. (as S. calamagrostis (L.) Wahlenb.)
  • Achnatherum robustum (Vasey) Barkworth (as S. robusta (Vasey) Scribn.)
  • Achnatherum splendens (Trin.) Nevski (as S. splendens Trin.)
  • Celtica gigantea (Link) F. M. Vazquez & Barkworth (as S. gigantea Link)
  • Jarava ichu Ruiz & Pav. (as S. ichu (Ruiz & Pav.) Kunth)
  • Macrochloa tenacissima (Loefl. ex L.) Kunth (as S. tenacissima Loefl. ex L.)
  • Nassella leucotricha (Trin. & Rupr.) R.W.Pohl (as S. leucotricha Trin. & Rupr.)
  • Nassella pulchra (Hitchc.) Barkworth (as S. pulchra Hitchc.)
  • Oryzopsis hymenoides (as S. hymenoides)[5]

See also


  • Elgaily Osman Ahmed (1983) Fire Ecology of Stipa Pulchra in California Annual Grassland, published by University of California, 128 pages
  • Ecological Society of America (1921) Ecology, published by Ecological Society of America, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, v.2
  • C. Michael Hogan (2008) , GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg

Line notes

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