Beargrass – Xerophyllum tenax

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Beargrass – Xerophyllum tenax

Common Name: Beargrass

Botanical Name: Xerophyllum tenax, zee-ro-FY-lum TEN-ax

Decorative Life: 7-14 days.


Harvest Instructions:

Should only be harvested in late June or later, after the new leaves harden off. The correct way to harvest is to grasp the leaves to be harvested and give them a quick twist. If only 1/3 of the new leaves are removed, the stand will continue to produce unless shade becomes too dense.

Family Roots:
  • Member of the Liliaceae (lily family).
  • Native to the Pacific Northwest and can grow from sea level to 7,000 feet.
  • Common relatives include asparagus, daylily, tulip, hyacinth and lily.
  • Thin, grass-like leaves, up to 3 feet long.
  • Plant is a herbaceous perennial from a woody rootstock.
  • Classed as a monocotyledon, leaves mostly parallel veined.
  • No fragrance.
Storage Specifics:


  • The specific epithet name “tenax” means strong, in reference to its foliage.
  • With over 3000 species, the lily family includes many medicinal and food species in addition to ornamental species.
  • From the Greek “xeros” (dry) and “phyllon” (leaf), referring to the leaves that look dry, grass-like.
  • While it is ready to be harvested in late June, better prices are often achieved when harvested in late fall, just as the first snow flakes appear.