At a Glance: Forms a tall grass-like clump of tough leaves topped by a large dense cluster of white flowers.
|Sun/Shade Tolerance||Hydrology||Elevation Range||
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%
Wetland Indicator Status:
|Tolerates a wide range of soils.|
well drained soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Seeps, springsShorelines and Riparian:
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
In or near saltwater
Coastal dunes or beachesRocky or Gravelly Areas:
Slide areasSub-alpine and Alpine:
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Old growth forests
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
ThicketsMeadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areasDisturbed Areas:
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover
Mammals: Bears eat the fleshy leaf bases in springtime; also forage for other mammals, large and small, including elk and mountain goat.
|Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts||
Material Uses: Native peoples made baskets, hats and capes with the leaves. They were especially used for fine overlapping, trimming, and ornamentation. Leaves were a valuable trade item.
Landscape Uses: Does not flower every year.
Ecological Importance: Dominates the forest under story in many Cascade sub-alpine forests; wildfire triggers flowering.
Name Info: Xerophyllum means dry leaves, tenax means tough for the usefulness of the leaves in clothes and basket making.
- Cooke, S.S. A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington and Northwetern Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society and Washington Native Plant Society. Page 221.
- Kruckeberg, A.R. 1996. 2nd ed. Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press. Page 149.
- Pojar, J., A. Mackinnon. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing. Page 112.
The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.