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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Thurber's Needlegrass - Stipa thurberiana
Other Names:  Achnatherum thurberianum

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SU

Agency Status


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General Description
Stems 40–70 cm. Leaves: blades 1–2 mm wide, essentially hairless at the throat; ligule 3–6 mm long. Inflorescence a contracted panicle 5–16 cm long. Spikelets 10–15 mm long. Lemmas with appressed hairs, awn 3–5 cm with plumose hairs on the lower portion (Lavin in Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Specimen coll. 7/28/43, presumably in flower.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Distinguished from Stipa comata by glumes less than 15 mm long, and conspicuously hairy on lower part of awn. Distinguished from other hairy species of Stipa
by hairs on the awn that are 1 mm long or longer.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(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)

Sporadic in open dry settings at low elevations (Lavin in Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Thurber's Needlegrass — Stipa thurberiana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from