Herb: Esparto Grass

Latin name: Stipa tenacissima

Synonyms: Macrochloa tenacissima

Family: Gramineae (Grass Family)

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Habitat of Esparto Grass:

Dry sandy calcareous or gypsaceous soils.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre from the leaves and stems is used in making paper, mats, ropes etc. It is very strong and is particularly used in making high quality paper. The leaves and stems are harvested in the summer, cut into usable pieces and soaked in clear water for 24 hours. They are then cooked in lye for 2 hours and beaten in a bell mill. The plant is a source of a vegetable wax. No further details.

Propagation of Esparto Grass:

Seed - sow March in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks, but make sure that the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. The seed can also be sown outdoors in April. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry sandy calcareous or gypsaceous soils.

Medicinal use of Esparto Grass:

None known

Known hazards of Stipa tenacissima:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.