State Grass of California

State Grass of California

Purple Needlegrass Is The State Grass of California. California became the 15th state to adopt an official California State Grass when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill No. 1226 into law on August 23, 2004. California grasslands are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States.  The Scientific Name Of Purple Needlegrass Is “Nassella pulchra”. Basionym Stipa pulchra pulchra, is a species of grass known by the common name purple needlegrass.

It is native to California, where it occurs throughout the coastal hills, valleys, and mountain ranges, as well as the Sacramento Valley and parts of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and Baja California. It grows in many types of local habitat, including grassland, chaparral, and oak woodland. California State Grass grows well on clay and serpentine soils Purple needlegrass is a medium-large, long-lived bunchgrass well adapted to clay soils.

State Grass of California is the most widespread native bunchgrass and its growing range is from the Oregon border into northern Baja California. The seed of the State Grass of California species was one of several used by many California Native American communities as a food source. California State Grass remains to this day as an important food source for California’s wildlife. During the period of Mexican control of California, this grass was used for cattle grazing to support the cowhide and tallow industry. Today, State Grass of California continues to provide forage for California’s important cattle industry.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Nassella pulchra, or purple needlegrass as it is commonly known, is the most extensive and widespread native perennial bunchgrass found in the state, with a range extending from Oregon border into northern Baja California.

(b) The seed of this grass species was one of several used by many California Native American communities as a food source. It remains an important food source for wildlife.

(c) During the period of Mexican control of California, Nassella pulchra was used for cattle grazing to support the huge cowhide and tallow industry. Today, Nassella pulchra continues to provide forage for California’s important cattle industry.

(d) The deep root systems of this grass support the survival of young oak trees by promoting mycorrhizal fungi, which are important to their health. With a lifespan of up to 100 years, Nassella pulchra provides food for more than 330 terrestrial species of life.

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