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.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate

Cal-IPC Assessment

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.

Weed RIC Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

There are no newsletter articles associated with this species yet.

Cal-IPC 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.

Other Stipa capensis Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - See the distribution of this species on Calflora's map of California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution information with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.