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California Native Grasses

Grasses are great for many reasons. Native grasses are even better! They are beautiful in shape, texture, and color. Many of our native grasses here in California are drought tolerant. Listed below are some of our favorite California native grasses.

Aristida purpurea, Purple three awn

  • Drought tolerant bunchgrass, full sun to part shade, delicate, nodding reddish-purple panicles

Deschampsia cespitosa, Tufted hairgrass 

  • Densely clumping perennial, tolerates shade and moisture, bright green blades, tall green to gold flowers in early spring 

Festuca californica, California fescue 

  • Cool season evergreen bunchgrass, full sun to part shade, prefers moisture, bluish green foliage, delicate flower spikes 

Leymus species, Wildrye 

  • Clumping and spreading, tolerate shade, moisture, and clay, excellent on slopes and/or as ground cover, notable selection ‘Canyon Prince’ 

Melica imperfecta, Coast range melic 

  • Full sun, drought tolerant bunchgrass with slender, bright green blades, purplish spikelets 

Muhlenbergia rigens, Deergrass 

  • Perennial, summer/fall flowering, coarse tuft at base, long slender white aging to gold panicles, dramatic

Stipa species, Needlegrass 

  • Fine textured drought tolerant perennial bunchgrass, three food purplish awns in early spring, good erosion control, effective in massed plantings as well