Bear Grass

Alyce Taylor

Joined December 2008

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Featured in Wildflowers of North America on December 26th, 2010.

A cluster of white beargrass blossoms.

Captured among the pine tress at the forest’s edge near Cameron Lake, in Waterton Lakes national Park, Alberta, Canada.

Taken with a Canon Rebel XSi and an 18-55mm lens.

Bear Grass (Xerophyllum tenax, syn. Helonias tenax) is a grasslike perennial member of the lily family.It is known by several other names, including squaw grass, soap grass, quip-quip, and Indian basket grass.

In late spring and early summer the plants send up tall flowering stalks, which can reach 5 feet. Each individual plant actually only blooms once every 5 to 7 years.The large cream-colored blooms, 6 to 8 inches long, are actually made up of many tiny flowers. The leaves of the plant are long , thin and wiry, and grow in clumps which remain after the blooms die back . despite the name, these plants are not a food source for bears, but rather for bighorn sheep, elk, and mountain goats.
Bear grass grows in broad swaths on open hillsides and in patches interspersed in thick forest throughout the Crown of the Continent region of the Rocky Mountains, from Glacier National Park in Montana, in the United States, north through Waterton Lakes and Banff National Parks in southern Alberta, Canada.

Artwork Comments

  • Vickie Emms
  • Alyce Taylor
  • Nancy Richard
  • Alyce Taylor
  • Digitalbcon
  • Alyce Taylor
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