Nolina, Texas Beargrass, Devil’s Shoestring, Texas Sacahuista
Nolina texana, Nolina lindheimeri
Did you know?
- The name “Sacahuista” originates from the Aztec language, translating roughly to “thorn grass”
- The New Mexico native, N. microcarpa, most commonly called Sacahuista, was the primary material used by indigenous people in the region for weaving baskets and mats
- Nolina seeds may be toxic to livestock
Several Nolina species are native to Texas, and they share a number of characteristics including long, narrow, wiry leaves that give them the graceful appearance of a mounded grass. All are evergreen and succulent, and produce clusters of white to yellow flowers, though the appearance of the flower varies. Most species are wider than they are tall, with a spread of up to four feet.
Nolina are adapted to inhabit steep, rocky crevices, so they tend to be drought tolerant and tolerant of infertile soils. These qualities along with their form make them an excellent addition to rock gardens and retaining wall areas. Since they are typically understory plants, they do best in part shade. N. lindheimeriana is found almost exclusively in Texas, while the range of N. texana extends north to Colorado and west to Arizona. There are several other species that occur in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.
This plant is available at most nurseries that carry regionally native species. It is typically purchased as a 3 to 7 gallon container-grown plant.
Flowers, Fruits, Seedpods
Flowers on N. lindheimeriana are white to yellow-green, occurring in airy clusters that can reach three feet in length. N. texana’s flowers are denser, taking on almost a cone-shape, and are white to light pink in color. Both bloom from mid-spring through summer.