Habit: upright, mound-forming bunch grass growing to 3 ft (1 m) tall. Wiry stalks of pendulous flowers top the dark green, densely tufted, thin leaves found at the base of the plant. Wheat colored spikelets (reproductive parts of the grass family) arise from the ends of long branchlets in the inflorescence. Leaves are not retained year-to-year. One of the earliest grasses to bloom in the spring, plumes of flowers appear from July to September, and seeds mature August to September.
Ecology: widespread in the Western States most often found in the mountains at high elevations, 5000-10,000 ft (1524-3048 m) on rocky ridges and moist meadows. It grows very poorly at lower elevations but can be found near the coast in wetlands.
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, moist to dry soil. Very tolerant of cold temperatures and long snowy periods.
Provides good winter interest. It is not recommended for revegetation of stream bank areas, since the tufted fibrous roots provide limited bank stabilization.