Low - Moderate
This plant, commonly known as chaparral or peninsular beargrass, is so rare that it is only known to grow within four counties in Southern California, Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego. There are thought to be no more than 20,000 chaparral beargrass specimens in the world!
Although its name and appearance might make you think otherwise, chaparral beargrass is not technically a grass but is a part of the lily family. The stalk of the plant can grow over three feet in height. Long, sharp, waxy leaves grow from the base of the plant, giving it the appearance of a grass. When flowering, small, white, densely clustered flowers bloom from the stalk. The plant is drought-resistant and requires little water. This species is a "fire-follower", experiencing reproduction and prolific blooming after wildfire
Previously classified as a subspecies of Nolina parryi, our local native, this plant was given species status in 1995. Nolina cismontana occurs in coastal mountain ranges in dry chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitat on rocky sandstone and gabbro substrates. By contrast, N. parryi is more often found in woodlands on granite soils.
The plant is in decline throughout most of its range. Threats include destruction and fragmentation of habitat for development, construction of roads, and agriculture, changes in the fire regime, recreational activity, and non-native species.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.