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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 occidentalis var. occidentalis
Family common name(s)grass; true grass
Genus common name(s)stipa; stipa grass; steppe-grass; steppe grass; steppegrass
Species common name(s)western stipa; western needle-grass; western needle grass; western needlegrass; narrow-topped feather-grass; narrow-topped feather grass; narrow-top feather-grass; narrow-top feather grass; Sierra Nevada needle-grass; Sierra Nevada needlegrass; occidental needle-grass; occidental needlegrass
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxaColumbia needlegrass, Columbia needle-grass, Columbia needle grass, Columbia stipa, Columbian needlegrass, stiff needlegrass are applied to multiple Stipa s.l. taxa; needlegrass, needle-grass, needle grass, 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 are applied to multiple Poaceae taxa; puna grass, puna-grass, punagrass, woolgrass, woolly grass, wooly grass, woollygrass, woolygrass are applied to taxa in multiple families
Common name(s), rejectednot recommended: Indian ricegrass, Indian rice grass, Indian rice-grass
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcAchnatherum occidentale (Thurb. ex S. Watson) Barkworth subsp. occidentale
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