Ixiolirion & Xerophyllum tenax

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Thu, 26 Jun 2008 16:23:02 PDT
Iain asked about Xerophyllum tenax, commonly known as "beargrass." Though 
not a bulbous plant and not a geophyte, it is often discussed along with 
the bulbous monocots.

This plant is widespread in the American West, usually growing above the 
winter snow line in conifer woodland and clearings. It tolerates some shade 
but flowers best after the tree cover is removed by fire, logging, or 
windstorms. It is very slow-growing from seed and might take as long as 12 
years to flower. It grows in rocky soils of mostly volcanic origin where 
there is very good drainage. It is usually wet in fall, snow-covered in 
winter, wet in spring, and very dry in summer. It is rarely seen in 
gardens, even in my area where it is indigenous at higher elevations.

Some populations of Xerophyllum are threatened by the collection of the 
foliage for the florist industry, for which it is shipped worldwide.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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