Chapter 3. Common Native Grasses of the Northern Midwest

3.9 Tufted hairgrass

Tufted hairgrass in full flower, ‘Goldstaub’ in foreground.
Tufted hairgrass in full flower, ‘Goldstaub’ in foreground.

Deschampsia cespitosa

Cool season; Perennial

Characteristics: 3–4’; mound; foliage dark green; flowers beige

Growing Conditions: average to wet soils; sun to shade; hardy zones 3–9

This mound-forming grass requires moisture to establish. It is semi-evergreen, and one of the first grasses to grow in the spring. Foliage may show rust, but it is not fatal.

  • ‘Bronzeschleier’: bronze veil hairgrass, flowers are darker, more bronze colored.
  • ‘Goldstaub’: gold dust hairgrass, shorter, only 1–2’, beautiful mound habit.
  • ‘Schottland’: Scotland hairgrass, yellow flowers, 2–3’, most common nativar.

No records of Lepidoptera feeding on tufted hairgrass were found in the literature, but further research into Lepidoptera larval habits may discover associations in the future.

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Gardening with Native Grasses in Cold Climates by Diane M. Narem and Mary Hockenberry Meyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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