Sacahuista (Microcarpa) is generally described as
a perennial subshrub or shrub or graminoid.
native to the U.S. (United States)
has its most active growth period in the
spring and summer .
Sacahuista (Microcarpa) has
gray-green foliage and
white flowers, with
a moderate amount of
conspicuous brown fruits or seeds.
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
spring and continuing until
not retained year to year.
Sacahuista (Microcarpa) has a
long life span relative to most other plant species and a
moderate growth rate.
At maturity, the typical
Sacahuista (Microcarpa) will reach up to
4 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of
Sacahuista (Microcarpa) generally appears in field collections and doesn't tend to be commercially available. It can be propagated by
It has a
slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
high tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.
Ethnobotanic: Beargrass formed the stuffing or warp of Papago coiled baskets. The blades were cut off near the ground and the saw-like edges are scraped away with a knife, split in two or more sections, and bundled and stored until used. Beargrass leaves were sometimes used in Jemez Pueblo ring baskets and they were the preferred materials for other southerly Rio Grande Pueblos earlier in this century. The Pima used beargrass in their baskets. They sun-dried the leaves and then split them into four, five or six strands before using them. These materials are still being gathered today and woven into baskets. The Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico ground beargrass seeds into flour for food. They also drank a tea of boiled beargrass roots as a cure for pneumonia and rheumatism.
General: Lily Family (Liliaceae). This native, acaulescent perennial has long, narrow leaves with small teeth along their margins. The leaves are narrow--6-12 mm. wide and 6-12 dm. long. Beargrass has a dense cluster of white flowers on a long stalk, up to 2 m tall. The flowers are minute and cream-tan, and the round fruits are deeply notched at the apex. The seeds are light yellow-brown to nearly black and finely wrinkled.
Required Growing Conditions
For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Cultivation and Care
Adaptation: The plant is found on exposed mountainsides throughout much of Arizona, and similar elevations eastward through New Mexico into western Texas and adjacent Chihuahua and northeastern Sonora.
General: Establish the plant by seed. Plant the seeds in a flat in a nursery at a depth that is the width of the seeds. The seeds should be planted in the spring in well-drained soil with a coarse layer of sand on top and gently watered. Protect the flat from animals. Let the surface of the soil dry out between watering. If the flats are watered too often, this can cause the plants to rot. A good indicator of over-watering is that the plants wilt. Once the seedlings have leaves and are at least two inches tall with sturdiness to them, transplant them into individual pots with good drainage holes. After transplanting, put the containers in a shady area that is protected from wind and animals such as a lath house or a shady grove of trees.
After one and one-half years, plant the plants outdoors in lower elevations in mid-to-late fall or early winter. In higher elevations where the ground freezes, it is best to plant the plants when the ground thaws. After planting, water the plants and let them dry out on the surface between watering. During the rainy season, supplement with hand watering if the rains are insufficient. Plant the plants in a well-drained, well-aerated soil. Plant in partial shade, using a shade cloth or other means until well-established and then remove the shade cloth to expose the plant to full sun. Water the plant through the summer. It will be necessary to water the plant for several years until well established. In areas without summer rainfall, continue to water the plant in summer throughout the life of the plant.
General Upkeep and Control
If the plant begins to have an unkempt matted appearance, prune it back in late winter or early spring after the danger of frost is past.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA