California grasslands were probably historically dominated by perennial bunchgrasses such as purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra) and bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides) [22,55,204,211,251]. The species also occurs in the Central Valley and foothills of the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada, and on the Channel Islands. It is native to the U.S. state of California, where it occurs throughout the coastal hills, valleys, and mountain ranges, as well as the Sacramento Valley and parts of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and Baja California. Distribution Purple needlegrass occurs on the west side of the Coast Ranges from northern Baja California north to the Oregon border. But the individual grasses are still here, and in recognition of their historical and environ- mental importance, the Cali- fornia legislature in 2004 declared that the most domi- nant native grass, purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra, formerly known as Nassella pulchra), as the official state grass. It resembles N. manicata, but has longer florets and less strongly developed crowns. The official State Grass designated in 2004, is Nassella pulchra, or Purple needlegrass, as it is most commonly known. It is believed that before European settlement, purple needlegrass was the dominant bunch grass species in the state. It probably never formed extensive grasslands (Hamilton 1997), flourishing primarily in moderately disturbed areas. It is native to California, where it occurs throughout the coastal hills, valleys, and mountain ranges, as well as the Sacramento Valley and parts of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and Baja California. Nassella pulchra can be used to help restore habitats, prevent erosion and maintain levees. For Some grass species in these habitats include red oat grass (Themeda triandra) and Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) in tropical savannas, and purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra) and galleta in temperate areas. Purple Needlegrass (Nassella pulchra) Purple needlegrass is a perennial bunchgrass which can live up to 150 years. Popular in native grass mixtures and in wildflower mixtures. Common Name: Purple Needlegrass Botanical Name(s): Stipa pulchra (Nassella pulchra) Purple NeedlegrassNamed "California State Grass" because of its wide range of adapation in climates and soils. Nassella pulchra is California’s state grass. Scientific name: Nassella pulchra Family: Poaceae (grass) Habitat: grassland Size: plants up to 2 feet tall Fun facts: This grass was once nominated to be the “state grass” of California.. Discussion. It cannot be used as a lawn grass because of its clustered nature, but it can be used as decorative grass. Common name: Purple Needlegrass. Nassella pulchra, basionym Stipa pulchra, is a species of grass known by the common name purple needlegrass. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focused on protecting and preserving North America's native plants through native plant lists and image galleries, conservation, education, natural landscapes, seed collection - Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) Project, preserving and restoring native communities, spreading awareness on invasive species and gardening to attract wildlife. Scientifically known as Nassella pulchra, purple needlegrass is native to the coastal hills of California, ranging from the Oregon border south to Baja, California. Attractive grass with interesting seed panicles. This grass is normally found on dry slopes at around 5000 feet. This species has the same dominant characteristic as most grassland plants: it is able to withstand long periods of drought. Also can be p Purple needlegrass can be found in temperate grasslands from the Oregon border into northern Baja California. 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