Agavaceae, Nolinaceae, Liliaceae
In the Trans-Pecos beargrass favors limestone habitats and open grasslands at 4000 to 6500 feet in the Guadalupe Mountains, where it is the common Nolina species. It resembles a rounded, densely-leafed clump of coarse-bladed grass until it sends up its delicately branched inflorescence. The numerous leaves are nearly semi-cylindrical with a lengthwise channel or groove, and have slightly scabrous (rough feeling) margins. They measure 30 to 50 inches long and less than half an inch wide. The particularly notable characteristic for this species is the purple or reddish-purple tinged twiggy inflorescence. There are even purplish tinges on the leaves. Ornamentally, beargrass may be used as a groundcover or to stabilize rocky slopes, and with its symmetrical profile and arching leaves it would provide textural change for a cactus garden.
Plant Habit or Use: groundcover
Flower Color: red, purple; reddish purple
Blooming Period: summer
Fruit Characteristics: inflated capsule
Height: 3 to 5 feet with inflorescence
Width: 3 to 5 feet
Plant Character: evergreen
Heat Tolerance: very high
Soil Requirements: alkaline
Additional Comments: Nolinas are polygamo-dioecious, that is: they usually have male and female flowers on separate plants, but each plant also has a few perfect flowers (male and female flower parts on one flower).