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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Letterman's Needlegrass - Stipa lettermanii
Other Names:  Achnatherum lettermanii

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S3
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Documented from several locations in the southern portion of the state. However, population levels, site characteristics and related information needed to determine the species' status are lacking.
General Description
Perennial bunchgrass. Stems 30–60 cm. Leaves: blade 0.5–2 mm wide, essentially hairless at throat region; ligule 3–4 mm long. Inflorescence a contracted panicle 10–15 cm long. Spikelets 7–9 mm long. Lemmas with dense appressed hairs, awn 1–2 cm long (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Fruiting in late June-July.

Species Range
Montana Range


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 27

(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 understory at middle to high elevations (Lesica et al. 2012).
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Aho, Ken Andrew. 2006. Alpine and Cliff Ecosystems in the North-Central Rocky Mountains. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 343 p.
    • Cope, M.G. 1992. Distribution, habitat selection and survival of transplanted Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus) in the Tobacco Valley, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 60 p.
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • Fogelsong, M.L. 1974. Effects of fluorides on Peromyscus maniculatus in Glacier National Park. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 52 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Martin, S.A. 1985. Ecology of the Rock Creek bighorn sheep herd, Beartooth Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 152 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Letterman's Needlegrass"
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Citation for data on this website:
Letterman's Needlegrass — Stipa lettermanii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from