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Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)
Yuccas Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)

General: Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa) is a yucca-like plant with long, slender, sword-like but flexible leaves that grow from the ground. Leaves have serrate edges when mature (not shredding). In the spring, plume-like flowerheads are produced on a long stalk that persists long after the flowers are gone.

Beargrass is a minor component of the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) and Transition (Yellow Pine Forest) life zones. Around Las Vegas, look for this species at the Grand Canyon.

Family: Agave (Agavaceae).

Other Names: Nolina, sacahuista.

Plant Form: Rounded mound of 3-ft-long sword-like leaves emerging from ground level.

Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)

Height: Usually less than 5 feet, but flowering stalk to 8 feet.

Trunk: None.

Stems: None.

Leaves: Very long (3 feet) and slender, concave. Leaf edges minutely serrate. Loose fibers along leaf edges absent.

Flowers: Blooms during spring. Inflorescence: a plume at the end of an upright 5-foot-high stalk. Flowers white, tiny. Fruit develops into early summer.


Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)

Habitat: Generally found in rocky areas, hillsides, desert grasslands, oak and pinyon-juniper woodlands.

Elevation: About 3,000 to 7,000 feet.

Distribution: Northwestern Arizona east into New Mexico.


Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)
Beargrass growing in a crack in a rock wall
Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)
Leaves are slightly concave on one side and convex on the other
Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)
Leaf edges are minutely serrate (and no shredding fibers)
Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)
Large cluster of flowers
Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa)
Close-up of old flowers and developing seed capsules
more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141126

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