Tridens strictus

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: longspike tridens 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Central North America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Brown tinged with purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates wide range soils including heavy clay. Tolerates drought. Cut to the ground in late winter before new growth appears. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tridens strictus, commonly called longspike tridens, is a densely tufted, Missouri native grass which occurs in both moist and dry soils on open ground, prairies, fields, waste areas, ditches and roadsides in the far southern part of the State. Typically grows 3-4' tall. Thin blades (3/8" wide). Brownish to rose-purplish flowers appear in mid-July in slender, dense, spike-like inflorescences (4-12" long) which persist well into October. Common name refers to the spike-like panicles which easily distinguish this grass from Tridens flavus which has loose, wide-branching panicles.

Specific epithet means erect or upright.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Prairies, meadows, native plant gardens, wild or naturalized areas. Other than the purple-tinged flower spikes, this somewhat weedy grass has very little ornamental value and is not usually considered appropriate for borders or other formal perennial plantings.