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Beargrass, Sacahuista

Nolina microcarpa

Details & Attributes

Plant Type(s) Succulent, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees
Has Spines No
In relative feet, width by height
3-5' × 4-6'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season May-July
Flower Color Cream
Minimum Temperature Range -10 °F
Leaf Description Thin, sharp edged blades
Fruit Inflated, papery capsules
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Elevation Range 3000-6000 ft.
Ethnobotany Taken for rheumatism, for pneumonia and lung hemorrhages; the stalks were eaten; the seeds were made into a flour or meal for bread or mush; the fruit was eaten raw or preserved; plant was used as a dye, for basketry, rugs, mats and other forms of weaving, for brushes, rope, and cord; the roots were used for soap; and the dried leaves were used as cooking tools.
Description This grassy succulent works well in mass plantings or mixed into a landscape featuring other succulents and small trees. Thin, waxy green leaves lay over forming a thick mat of foliage. The bloom stalk pokes up to about 2-3 feet and has small cream colored blooms. Be aware when planting that this species gets fairly wide and the leaves, while spineless, can cut if you rub against their thin margins, so give this plant room to grow. Beargrass can be grown in gardens from the low desert up into areas dominated by pine and juniper.