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Edible uses


Root - baked[1].

Material uses

A watertight basket can be made from the leaves[2][3][4][5][6]. This basket has been used for cooking food in[6]. The fibres are split from the leaves and then used[1]. The plant is also used to decorate baskets[6].

The small leaves have been used to make dresses[6]. The plants were burnt every year. The leaves were harvested in the spring when they first started to grow out of the charred rhizome. Prior to using, the leaves were soaked in water to make them pliable, but if left too long they turned green[6].

The dried and bleached leaves are used for weaving into hats and capes[7][6].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The roots are styptic[6]. A poultice of the chewed root has been applied to wounds[6]. A decoction of the grated root has been used as a wash on bleeding wounds, sprains and broken limbs[6]. The washed roots have been rubbed to make a lather and then used to wash sore eyes[6].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if possible, otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division as the plant comes into growth in the spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Xerophyllum tenax. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a well-drained soil in full sun[8]. Prefers a fairly moisture-retentive sandy peaty soil[9][10]. Requires a damp peaty soil[11]. Plants can be difficult to cultivate[12].

Plants are hardy to about -20°c[8], especially if the roots are given a good mulch in the winter[10].

If left undisturbed, plants can form quite large colonies, spreading by means of their tough rhizomes[10]. Plants do not flower every year, there are often gaps of 5 - 7 years between flowering[13].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Xerophyllum tenax. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Xerophyllum tenax.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Xerophyllum tenax
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

    "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    1. ? Balls. E. K. Early Uses of Californian Plants. University of California Press ISBN 0-520-00072-2 (1975-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    6. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
    9. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    10. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    11. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    12. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    13. ? Craighead. J., Craighead. F. and Davis. R. A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers The Riverside Press ISBN 63-7093 (1963-00-00)
    14. ? Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press (1955-00-00)

    "image:Beargrass.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Xerophyllum tenax"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyMelanthiaceae +
    Belongs to genusXerophyllum +
    Has binomial nameXerophyllum tenax +
    Has common nameIndian Basket Grass +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partRoot +
    Has edible useUnknown use +
    Has fertility typeInsects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has growth rateSlow +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has imageBeargrass.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useBasketry +, Fibre + and Weaving +
    Has mature height1.2 +
    Has mature width2 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useOphthalmic + and Styptic +
    Has primary imageBeargrass.jpg +
    Has search namexerophyllum tenax + and indian basket grass +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameXerophyllum tenax +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Xerophyllum tenax +, Xerophyllum tenax +, Xerophyllum tenax +, Xerophyllum tenax +, Xerophyllum tenax + and Xerophyllum tenax +