Deschampsia cespitosa

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Deschampsia cespitosa (L.) P.Beauv.


Life form: grass
Usage: economic plant / Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun - Exposure: half shade   4

Moisture: moderately moist bis Moisture: moist

Soil: gritty loam

Arrangement: alternate
Leaves: evergreen

Shape: linear

Division: simple

Shape: funnel-shaped
Fruit: caryopsis

200D / 47291f 

Inflorescence: panicle

Petals: single
Habit: not specified

Growth form: not specified



Deschampsia cespitosa, commonly known as Tufted Hair Grass, is an undemanding grass that is native to Europe.


Deschampsia cespitosa was already described and the name validly published by Carl Linnaeus. It was Ambroise Marie François Joseph Palisot de Beauvois, however, who reclassified it into todays valid botanical systematics in 1812.


Deschampsia cespitosa is a species in the genus Deschampsia which contains approximately 47 to 57 species and belongs to the family of the Poaceae (Grass Family).


tufted growth
delicate inflorescences
panicle with right-angled twigs
in a sunny bed


The grasses are comparatively fast-growing and reach heights of 30 to 40 (leaves) and 80 to 120 (inflorescences) centimetres. The plants reach a width of 30 to 60 centimetres.


Deschampsia cespitosa is semi-decidious to evergreen. The dark-green, simple leaves are alternate. They are linear with entire margins and parallel venation. The leaves are around 40 to 50 centimetres long, to 4 mm wide and have a glabrous surface.

Flowers and Fruits

Deschampsia cespitosa produces panicles of brown funnel-shaped flowers from June to September. The panicles are up to 50 centimetres long and 20 centimetres wide. They are pale green and often tinged purple.

In summer the grasses produce ornamental brown caryopses arranged in pale yellow fructifications.

Root System

The plants form deep-reaching roots.


Deschampsia cespitosa is native to the whole of Europe, Turkey, Iran, West-Siberia, South Siberia, Central Asia, Mongolia, the Himalaya and North America.


The grasses prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on fresh to moist soil. The substrate should be gritty loam with a pH between 4 and 7,5. They tolerate temperatures down to -35°C (USDA zone 4). The plants are suited for the shores areas of and in natural standing bodies of water and natural streams.

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber:

  • open areas
  • woodland borders (soil usually rich in humus)
  • woods (soil usually rich in organic material)

Tolerance of special soil conditions

  • none: calcareous soil
  • high: city climate


An undemanding and competative grass that is suited for beds and borders, as well as suited as a neighbour to roses, groundcover, specimen plant and as cut flowers. The recommended planting distance is 40 to 50 centimetres, the grasses are best planted in groups of 3 to 5.

Maintenance and Propagation

The plants usually need very little maintenance but may displace other plants through excessive self-seeding.

  • Cut back in spring if used in flower beds.
  • Limit self-seeding by planting only one cultivars (clone).

Propagate by sowing or by division (cultivars).


Pests and Diseases


  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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