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Saturday, February 25, 2012

X ~ Xerophyllum tenax, Bear Grass

The dreaded "X" !!!

Bear Grass is a fun, showy plant and some people look forward to its blooming every year.  They can be quite dominant and abundant on sunny slopes and meadows all the way up to the tree line.  The flower clusters are quite scented and attract bugs galore.  It is always a good bet for some kind of bug photography.

Bears do like the early , fresh leaves of this plant.  The leaves look much like tough wiry grass but the early shoots are quite juicy and fleshy.

The flowers stalks and leaves dry during their die-back.  Native peoples used the tough leaves as materials for making hats , capes and baskets.

The name Xero (dry) phyllum (grass) tenax ( tough) tells you this.

The above Bear Grass blossom was photographed at Sun Top and the bug is a syrphidae fly.

The picture below was taken in July, on the upper meadow of Bandera Mountain, above I-90 just west of the summit. 


  1. One of our favorite native plants - lovely especially to see whole fields of this as in your picture. Looks, too, like a place we have to visit - as often as we go through the area, we've never stopped there in spring or summer to explore.

  2. Bandera is a good solid hike, 1000/1 as you can guess from the photo. Pretty much a bee-line type trail up top.

    Down below, in middle slope , in the woods

    on a trail that was /is a trail ( cough cough) tons !!!! of coralroot and Indian Pipe and goodness knows what else. Along the ( official ) trail plenty of little gems along the way.

    If you can go, start very early to beat that blazing sun and on a weekday ( for more solitude). Fantastic views from the top, north into the Enchantments