Bear Grass looks like a grass, but really belongs to the lily family. Its olive-colored, grass-like leaves grow from the base of the plant and are tough and wiry. The outside leaves clasp around the stem. The leaves have toothed margins, and grow about 35 inches long, getting shorter as they near the flowers, looking very much like a fan.
The flowers of bear grass grow on a stalk that can be 6 feet tall with many small flowers. Each flower is creamy white, and saucer shaped, and has a sweet aroma. The lowest flowers bloom first, creating a tight knot of buds at the top. The entire flower looks a little like fluffy, upside down ice cream cone. Bear grass tends to flower in 5 to 7 year cycles. After the fruit sets, the plant dies. It reproduces by seed, and by sending out offshoots from its rhizomes.
Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at sub alpine and low alpine elevations in the western United States.
Bear grass is a fire-resistant species that is the first plant to grow after a fire. Beargrass, and many other native plants, need periodic burns to produce strong, new growth. After a fire beargrass sprouts from its rhizomes which lie just under the surface. Light fires of short duration are best. Intense fires which linger in the same place for a long time will kill the rhizomes under the ground, and prevent the beargrass from growing back.
Native Americans in Oregon, Washington state, and British Columbia have traditionally made beautiful baskets with the stems and roots of beargrass. When the leaves are dried in the sun in preparation for making baskets, they turn a creamy white. Combined with other materials of different colors, beautiful designs were woven into the baskets. Hats and other practical objects were also made of beargrass.
Info source: blueplanetbiomes.org
Genus - Xerophyllum
Species - Tenax
Common name - Indian Basket Grass
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 8
Height - 4' (1,20 m)
Spread - 6.5' (2 m)
Plant type - Perennial
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Slow
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Sandy, loamy, well drained
Water requirements - Moist
Landscape uses - Great and unusual accent for woodland garden, sunny edges
Germination rate - 81%
Bloom season - July - August
Leaf / Flower color - Green / White
|Germination||Sow in fall outside on the surface, mulch it for the winter.|
To start in indoors:
-cold moist stratify for 12-16 weeks.
-sow on surface, keep moist in light and warm place.
Grow out in pot for the first year and plant in the permanent position next spring.