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Aristida purpurea, photo courtesy of Scott Calhoun
Aristida purpurea, photo courtesy of Scott Calhoun

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Zones 3B, 4-24
Full Sun
Minimal Water

Aristida purpurea

Purple Three-awn

Ornamental grasses and grasslike plants

Native to the western two-thirds of the U.S. and Canada and to northern Mexico. This warm-season bunchgrass grows 2–2 1/2 ft. tall and wide, with fine-textured, green to blue-green leaves and purplish flower stalks. Silky, nodding, purplishflowers are produced over a long period in summer and deepen in color as the seed develops.

Mature flowers have threadlike awns that reflect light beautifullyin late summer and fall.Attractive even in winter, when plant bleaches to a light straw color. Wonderful floweringaccent among boulders or in a cactus garden.

Grows best in sandy or gravelly soils but will take most soils if drainage is good. Tolerates extreme heat. Controls erosion on slopes. Cut back to crownin late winter for fresh spring growth. Plants will reseed but usually not too aggressively; to control spread, remove flowerstalks before seeds ripen.Seeds can be a nuisance, as they cling to clothing and pets.

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