add movement to your landscape

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purple three awn
aristida purpurea
poaceae

  • GROWS TO ABOUT 2' TALL 

  • perennial bunchgrass 

  • moderate water (terrace zone)

  • FULL SUN

  • HARDY TO ABOUT -10º F

  • larval host for skippers and satyrs, and used for nest building by birds and native bees

When people plan their landscapes, often they get so bogged down with figuring out what colors, textures, and shapes they want that they forget about movement. Grasses like purple three awn (Aristida purpurea) respond to the slightest breezes. Besides being a nice landscape accent, they can mesmerize you with their swaying. 

Most famous along roadsides, these are small bunch grasses that grow to about 2'x 2', in full sun, and are moderate to low water users. Spring pruning can keep growth looking fresh and plants will reseed. 

Who knew that this plant could build homes, but it does: birds use the spent awns for building nests, and so do native bee species! What is more, this grass is a larval host for butterflies like skippers and satyrs. 

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Katherine Gierlach