Letterman Needlegrass

  • Scientific name: Achnatherum lettermanii
  • Native to Intermountain West mountain and alpine pastures
  • Production and availability very limited

Out of stock

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Letterman Needlegrass, or Achnatherum lettermanii, is a species of grass native to the western United States. It is named after the botanist and explorer Charles V. Piper, who collected the first known specimens of the plant in the early 1900s.

Letterman needlegrass is a perennial bunchgrass that can grow up to 3 feet tall. It has narrow, sharp-pointed leaves that are rough to the touch and can easily puncture skin or clothing. The plant produces clusters of flowers on tall stalks, which bloom from May to July and are pollinated by wind.

One of the unique characteristics of letterman needle grass is its adaptation to fire. The grass has long, narrow leaves that allow it to survive wildfires that might kill other plants. After a fire, the grass quickly regrows and can help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

Letterman needle grass is an important part of many ecosystems in the western United States. It provides habitat and food for a variety of animals, including rodents, insects, and birds. The grass is also important for grazing, as it is a nutritious forage for livestock.

However, letterman needlegrass is also threatened by habitat loss and degradation. The grass is adapted to dry, open areas and is often found in grasslands and sagebrush steppe ecosystems. These ecosystems are under threat from development, agriculture, and invasive species.

To help conserve letterman needle grass and other grassland species, conservation organizations are working to protect and restore grassland habitats. This includes working with private landowners to implement sustainable grazing practices, controlling invasive species, and restoring degraded areas.

In addition, researchers are studying the genetics and ecology of letterman needle grass to better understand its adaptations and how it might respond to climate change. This information can help inform conservation efforts and management practices for this important grass species.

Letterman needle grass is a unique and important part of many western ecosystems. Its adaptations to fire and ability to provide habitat and forage make it a valuable resource for both wildlife and humans. By working to conserve and restore its habitat, we can help ensure the continued survival of this important species.

***Click on the “Quick Plant Facts” tab above for more information.

Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Letterman Needlegrass
  • Achnatherum lettermanii
  • Barkworth

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Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Letterman Needlegrass

Scientific Name:

Old Scientific Name:



Plant Type:

Seeds per lb.

Growth Height:

Sowing Rate

8-12 PLS lbs. per Acre

Min. Precipitation

12-29 Inches, Highly Variable

Best SowingTime

Spring or Fall

Max Sowing Depth:

Growth Season:

Sun & Shade Tolerance:

Full Sun, Shade Intolerant

Elevation of Occurance:

Root Form

Fibrous, Bunchgrass

Hardiness Zones

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