Pheasant-tail grass Stipa arundinacea, photographed by Spritzhenry.

Belongs within: Pooideae.

Stipa, feather grasses or needle grasses, is a genus of about 100 species of large grasses found in temperate and warm-temperate regions of Eurasia. The circumscription of the genus has been changed significantly in recent years, and is probably still not stabilised. Stipa pennata, feather grass, is grown as an ornamental for its feathery flower spikes. Other popular ornamental species include S. arundinacea, New Zealand wind grass or pheasant's-tail grass, which has colourful leaves as well as flower spikes. Stipa spartea, porcupine grass, is a native of western North America with needle-like tips to the seeds; the coiling action of the strands making up these tips as the seed dries allows it to drill into the soil and become fixed in place.

Characters (from Flora of China): Perennials, forming dense tussocks, old basal sheaths persistent. Leaf blades filiform to setaceous, convolute, abaxial surface smooth or scabrid, adaxial surface prominently ribbed. Inflorescence usually a contracted panicle, enclosed in uppermost leaf sheath or shortly exserted, spikelets few. Spikelets with one floret, bisexual; glumes subequal, hyaline or membranous, much longer than floret, 3–5-veined, long acuminate; callus pungent, shortly bearded; lemma narrowly lanceolate, terete, usually leathery, (3–)5-veined, hairy, margins overlapping, apex entire; awn articulated at lemma apex and deciduous at maturity, scabrid to plumose, 1–2-geniculate, column tightly twisted, bristle straight, flexuous or curling; palea subequaling lemma, hyaline, enclosed within lemma. Lodicules 2 or 3, lanceolate. Stamens 3, anthers glabrous or shortly hairy at apex. Stigmas 2.

<==Stipa [incl. Achnatherum, Jarava; Stipaceae, Stipeae, Stipoideae] GPWG01
    |--S. arabica Trin. & Rupr. 1842 SS05
    |--S. arundinacea Benth. 1881 [=Apera arundinacea; incl. A. purpurascens Col. 1889] C06
    |--S. baicalensis RJ11
    |--S. barbata GPWG01
    |--S. brachychaeta S06
    |--S. bromoides (Linnaeus) Dörfl. 1897 PL04
    |--S. caespitosa (Gris.) Speg. 1901 [=Nassella caespitosa] S06
    |--S. capensis PT98
    |--S. capillata O88
    |--S. cernua MK08
    |--S. clarazii S06
    |--S. comata CL86
    |--S. consanguinea O88
    |--S. cordobensis S06
    |--S. curamalalensis S06
    |--S. dregeana GPWG01
    |--S. filifolia S06
    |--S. hyalina S06
    |--S. hystricina S06
    |--S. ichu GPWG01
    |    |--S. i. var. ichu S06
    |    `--S. i. var. gynerioides S06
    |--S. lagascae Roemer & Schultes 1817 GR98
    |--S. leptostachya Gris. 1879 S06
    |--S. letorneuxii Trab. 1889 GR98
    |    |--S. l. ssp. letourneuxii [=S. lagascae var. letourneuxii] GR98
    |    `--S. l. ssp. pellita (von Trinius & Ruprecht) Scholz in Greuter & Raus 1998 (see below for synonymy) GR98
    |--S. leucotricha SF98
    |--S. manicata S06
    |--S. melanosperma Presl. 1830 S06
    |--S. mongholica O88
    |--S. neaei [incl. S. bella Phil. 1870, S. pulchella Munro in Ball 1884] S06
    |--S. neesiana S06
    |    |  i. s.: S. n. f. contorta S06
    |    |--S. n. var. neesiana S06
    |    `--S. n. var. virescens S06
    |--S. nitida Z93
    |--S. nodosa Z93
    |--S. pampagrandensis S06
    |--S. papposa S06
    |--S. pectinata B75
    |--S. pennata Linnaeus 1753 PL04
    |    |--S. p. ssp. pennata PL04
    |    `--S. p. ssp. eriocaulis (Borbás) Martinovský & Skalický 1969 PL04
    |--S. pulcherrima H91
    |--S. rariflora D03
    |--S. roylei O88
    |--S. sanluisensis S06
    |--S. setacea [incl. S. petriei] C06
    |--S. spartea B75
    |--S. staintonii O88
    |--S. tenuis S06
    |    |--S. t. var. tenuis S06
    |    `--S. t. var. argentina S06
    |--S. tenuissima V09
    |--S. teretifolia [incl. Dichelachne stipoides] C06
    |--S. verticillata [incl. Streptachne ramosissima] C06
    |--S. viridula CL86
    `--S. zuvantica GR98

Stipa letourneuxii ssp. pellita (von Trinius & Ruprecht) Scholz in Greuter & Raus 1998 [=S. lagascae var. pellita von Trinius & Ruprecht 1842, S. pellita (von Trinius & Ruprecht) Tzvelev 1966] GR98

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[C06] Cheeseman, T. F. 1906. Manual of the New Zealand Flora. John Mackay, Government Printer: Wellington.

[CL86] Collins, E. I. & R. W. Lichvar. 1986. Vegetation inventory of current and historic black-footed ferret habitat in Wyoming. Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs 8: 85–93.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In: Scott, W. B. (ed.) Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896–1899 vol. 8. Botany pp. 1–34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[GPWG01] Grass Phylogeny Working Group. 2001. Phylogeny and subfamilial classification of the grasses (Poaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 88 (3): 373–457.

[GR98] Greuter, W., & T. Raus (eds.) 1998. Med-Checklist Notulae, 17. Willdenowia 28: 163–174.

[H91] Hubálek, Z. 1991. Biogeographic indication of natural foci of tick-borne infections. In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 1 pp. 255–260. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[MK08] Mockford, E. L., & P. D. Krushelnycky. 2008. New species and records of Liposcelis Motschulsky (Psocoptera: Liposcelididae) from Hawaii with first description of the male of Liposcelis bostrychophila Badonnel. Zootaxa 1766: 53–68.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: an introductory note. In: Ohba, H., & S. B. Malla (eds) The Himalayan Plants vol. 1. The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19–46.

[PT98] Panitsa, M., & D. Tzanoudakis. 1998. Contribution to the study of the Greek flora: flora and vegetation of the E Aegean islands Agathonisi and Pharmakonisi. Willdenowia 28: 95–116.

[PL04] Pohl, G., & I. Lenski. 2004. Zur Verbreitung und Vergesellschaftung von Pennisetum orientale Rich. in Nordeuböa (Griechenland) (Poaceae, Paniceae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 83 (2): 209–223.

[RJ11] Rising, J. D., A. Jaramillo, J. L. Copete, P. G. Ryan & S. C. Madge. 2011. Family Emberizidae (buntings and New World sparrows). In: Hoyo, J. del, A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds) Handbook of the Birds of the World vol. 16. Tanagers to New World Blackbirds pp. 428–683. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona.

[SF98] Saikkonen, K., S. H. Faeth, M. Helander & T. J. Sullivan. 1998. Fungal endophytes: a continuum of interactions with host plants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29: 319–343.

[SS05] Srivastava, S. K., & K. C. Sekar. 2005. Contribution to the flora of Himachal Pradesh from Pin Valley National Park. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 47 (1–4): 159–162.

[S06] Stuckert, T. 1906. Segunda contribución al conocimiento de las gramináceas Argentinas. Anales del Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires, serie 3, 6: 408–555.

[V09] Verdcourt, B. (ed.) 2009. Additions to the Wild Fauna and Flora of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. XXVI. Miscellaneous records. Kew Bulletin 64 (1): 183–194.

[Z93] Zimmerman, E. C. 1993. Australian Weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) vol. 3. Nanophyidae, Rhynchophoridae, Erirhinidae, Curculionidae: Amycterinae, literature consulted. CSIRO Australia.

Last updated: 30 November 2017.

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