Needle-and-Thread Grass, Spear Grass


Very common across the prairies, this grass grows in small dense tufts 30–60 cm tall. Its flowers form in a cluster, called a panicle, 10–20 cm long. The seeds have a sharp end (the needle), and are attached to an awl, or bristle, which is 10–15 cm long (the thread) that twists and curls. It is a very important forage grass in the drier parts of the grasslands. 

The Blackfoot called the grass Okut-see or spear grass, and knew that bison cows were in prime condition for hunting when the seed-bearing stems of the grass, with their mature seeds, tipped over and flattened onto the soil. (Johnston 22)


To be added soon.

This plant is not currently in the garden, but we hope it is coming soon. 


  • Johnston, Alex. 1987. Plants and the Blackfoot. Occasional Paper No. 15., Lethbridge Historical Society, AB.