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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonStipa comata var. comata
Family common name(s)grass; true grass
Genus common name(s)stipa; stipa grass; steppe-grass; steppe grass; steppegrass
Species common name(s)needle-and-thread; needle and thread; needleandthread; needle-and-thread grass; needle and thread grass; needleandthread grass; needleandthreadgrass; needle & thread; needle & thread grass; needle&thread; needle & thread grass; needle&thread grass; needle-and-thread spear-grass; needle-and-thread spear grass; needle and thread spear grass; needle-and-thread speargrass; needle-and-thread porcupine-grass; needle-and-thread porcupine grass
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxashort-bristle needle-and-thread, shortbristle needle and thread, short-awn porcupine grass are applied to multiple Hesperostipa taxa; western stipa, needlegrass, needle-grass, needle grass, western needle grass, western needlegrass, rice grass, rice-grass, ricegrass, false rice grass, false rice-grass, false ricegrass, spear-grass, speargrass, spear grass, western spear-grass, western speargrass, feather-grass, feather grass, feathergrass, bunch grass, bunch-grass, bunchgrass, beardgrass, beard-grass, beard grass, rabbit grass, porcupine grass, porcupine-grass, porcupinegrass, long-awned grass, long-awn grass, sand grass, sandgrass are applied to multiple Poaceae taxa; devil's-darning-needle, devil's darning needle, devil's-darning-needles, devil's darning needles, silk grass, silkgrass, puna grass, puna-grass, punagrass are applied to taxa in multiple families
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcHesperostipa comata (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth subsp. comata
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