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Purple Three Awn

Aristida purpurea

Details & Attributes

Plant Type(s) Grass
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun, partial shade
Has Spines No
In relative feet, width by height
1-2' × 1-2'
Flowering Season April-October
Flower Color Purple
Minimum Temperature Range 5-10 °F
Leaf Description Blades with hairy margins, typically rolled
Fruit Seed with 3 long awns (stiff terminal hairs)
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Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Elevation Range 1000-7000 ft.
Description Purple three awns grass occurs across almost the entirety of Arizona in well drained, exposed locations in habitats ranging from low desert scrub to pine woodland. This species is often encountered in disturbed sites or roadsides, so it will establish in open locations where other plants might struggle. This is a small species, rarely reaching 2ft, with lovely purple awns (the awns are the long hairlike spikes that emerge from the tip of a fruit kernel). Unlike many other native grasses, this species can green up and bloom in the spring, and again following monsoon rains. There are a number of varieties of this plant, and it is advisable to purchase seed or nursery stock from as close to home as possible to ensure the seed is locally adapted.