Tufted Hair Grass

Deschampsia cespitosa, commonly called tufted hair grass, is a clump-forming, cool season grass which is also called  blue-green hair-grass, fescue-leaved hairgrass, salt and pepper grass, and tussock grass.

It is often used as an ornamental  in woodland gardens or naturalized areas where the ethereal summer bloom produces a delicate cloud of subtle colors hovering above the foliage.  Mixes well with shade loving perennials such as ferns and hostas.

Tufted hairgrass is useful for restoring moist to seasonally wet areas and stabilizing disturbed sites and streambanks.

Utilization by deer, bear, rabbits is variable. Likewise, cover and food values are rated poor to good for small mammals.

Extremely rare and endangered in Maryland.

May be grown from seed.


Tufted Hair Grass – Missouri Botanical Garden

Tufted Hairgrass – USDA Plant Fact Sheet

Tufted Hairgrass – Maryland Plant Atlas

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Photo by Dale Darris


Categories: ,


Scientific Name:  Deschampsia cespitosa

Light:  Part Shade

Zone:  4 to 8

Height:  2 to 3 feet

Width:  1 to 2 feet

Flowers: airy panicles (to 20″ long) of tiny, variably-colored flowers (tones of gold, silver, purple and green) which form a cloud over the foliage that is particularly attractive when backlit.  Flowering occurs from May to September.

Fruit/Seed:  Seeds mature from late June to late September

Fall Color:


Birds:   Cover and food values are rated poor to good for upland game birds, songbirds, and waterfowl depending on wildlife species and location.


Deer Resistant:

Insects/Pollinators:   Tufted hairgrass is a larval food plant for several butterflies in North America and is host for at least 40 species of Lepidopteran insects worldwide.

NativeUSDA shows native only to Baltimore & Cecil counties in Maryland

Idea Garden:

Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8


Part Sun


Loam, Moist, Wet

Flower Color


Flower Season


Fruit Season

Fall, Summer


Coast, Piedmont

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Food for Birds

Notable Features

Erosion Control

Local Availability

Not Available


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