Stipa capensis

Stipa capensis_Mediterranean steppegrass_JM DiTomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Achnatum capense

Common names: Cape ricegrass

Stipa capensis (Mediterranean steppegrass or twisted-awned speargrass) is an annual grass (family Poaceae) found in the Coachella Valley of the Sonoran Desert. It has the potential to become widespread, and is already spreading rapidly in the Palm Springs area. If Mediterranean steppegrass does become more widespread, it has the potential to be a very serious fire hazard in California desert ecosystems. The sharp florets of the plant can injure animals, and may attach to their fur as a dispersal mechanism. This invasive grass may also decrease native wildflower abundance.

Rating: Moderate

Cal-IPC Resources

  • Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.
  • CalWeedMapper - Statewide maps, climate models, and reports.
  • Cal-IPC News - Our quarterly newsletter. Each issue is available as a pdf.
  • Cal-IPC Symposium Proceedings - Presentations and papers from our annual Symposium.
  • Don't Plant a Pest! - Select your region to find non-invasive alternatives to ornamental species. Also see our statewide brochure on trees.

    Other Resources

    Symposium Presentations

    • Tu, M. and J. M. Randall (2003). 2003 Cal-IPC red alert! New invasions, recent expansions, and a few others to be on the look-out For. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.

    Cal-IPC News Articles

    • None for this species.