Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Needle-and-Thread - Stipa comata
Other Names:  Hesperostipa comata

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links

General Description
Stems 30–70 cm. Leaves: blades 2–4 mm wide, hairy or hairless at throat region, ligule 3–6 mm long. Inflorescence a contracted to sometimes open panicle 15–32 cm long. Spikelets 16–35 mm long. Lemmas evenly to unevenly whitish hairy, with an awn 6.5–22 cm long (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)..

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Throughout North America excepting the very southeast (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1885

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Open dry settings including sagebrush steppe with high native plant cover as well as well-grazed rangelands and along secondary roads (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Burleson, W.H. 1976. The response to western wheatgrass and needle- and thread grass to grasshopper defoliation. M.S. Thesis, Montana State Univ., Bozeman, Montana.
    • Foster, J. W. 1977. Impact of off-road vehicle traffic on soils and vegetation on rangeland in southeastern Montana and photographic monitoring of the effects. M.S. thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 168 pp.
    • Hanson, H. C. 1955. Characteristics of the Stipa comata - Bouteloua gracilis - Bouteloua curtipendula association in northern Colorado. Ecology 36(2):269-280.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Smoliak, S. 1965. A comparison of ungrazed and lightly grazed Stipa-Bouteloua prairie in southeast Alberta. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 45:270-275.
    • Zlatnik, E. 1999b. Hesperostipa comata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online}. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Needle-and-Thread"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Needle-and-Thread — Stipa comata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from