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Common Name:

Mexican Feathergrass

Scientific Name:

Stipa tenuissima (Nassella tenuissima)

Family Name:

Poaceae (Gramineae)


Mexican Feathergrass is a small clump-forming extremely fine textured grass with a tuft of soft wiry windswept leaves. Leaves are a bright to soft green in summer, turning tan in winter, and waving softly in the slightest breeze. This species serves as an outstanding fine textured accent for arid climates.

Plant Habit or Use:

Perennial, groundcover, grasses


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Loose silvery plume-like inflorescences.

Blooming Period:

Summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Foxtail-like inflorescences; mildly showy.


12 inch to 24 inch(30 inch)


12 inch to 14 inch(30 inch)

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Intolerant of poorly drained soils and high humidity environments. This species tends to be short-lived in humid environments.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.