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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Prairie Wildflowers and Grasses of North Dakota

Grass (Native Species)


Chris Grondahl photo: Needle and thread
Chris Grondahl
  Needle and thread
(Stipa comata)

Distribution: statewide
Habitat: moist, mixed prairies, coarse and medium textured soils
Description: Cool-season, perennial bunchgrass. Spikes contain spikelets, tipped with a long (8-12 inch) hair that curls at the end.
Height: 1-3 feet
Other names: speargrass
Plant uses and other interesting facts: This plants name comes from the sharp-tipped, longhaired spikelets which develop in early June. It provides good forage when green but spikes can cause injury to eyes, mouth and flesh of smaller animals (i.e., sheep). Injury can be avoided if grazed before hairs mature or after they are dropped.


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