Hesperostipa comata (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth
needle-and-thread grass (needle and thread)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #25213)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Hesperostipa comata
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems erect, 30-70 cm tall.
Sheaths smooth to rough, strongly ribbed, not fringed along the margins; blades in-rolled and 0.5-2 mm wide, or if flat, up to 4 mm wide; ligules of the upper leaves to 7 mm long, usually pointed, sometimes jagged at the tips.
Inflorescence a loose, but narrow panicle, 10-28 cm long, the branches ascending; glumes narrow, nearly equal, papery; lower glumes 18-35 mm long, upper glumes 1-3 mm shorter; lemmas 7-13 mm long, evenly covered with 1 mm-long white hairs or smooth across the back of the lemma, awned, the awns firm and straight or zig-zagged and curved, 5-30 cm long; calluses 2-4 mm long, hairy.
Two subspecies occur in BC:

1. Terminal segment of the awn firm, straight or almost so, usually less than 5.5 cm long.................... ssp. intermedia (Scribn. & Tweedy) Barkw.

1. Terminal segment of the awn zig-zagged, curved, usually more than 5.5 cm long................... ssp. comata

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Hesperostipa comata

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
712 409 1026
Slope Gradient (%)
21 3 55

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

207 52 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 0 3
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(4), IDF(2), PP(4)

Habitat and Range

Dry, open grassy slopes in the steppe and montane zones; common in SC and SE BC, infrequent northward; N to YT, E to PQ and S to NY, MI, IL, IA, TX, NM, AZ and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia