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Common Name: Esparto Grass
Stipa tenacissima is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine..
Europe - Spain to N. Africa.
Dry sandy calcareous or gypsaceous soils[
Easily grown in an ordinary well-drained garden soil in full sun[
]. Succeeds in dry soils. Plants are fairly wind resistant[
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[
The leaves of wild plants are often harvested and exported for their use in paper making[
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.
Seed - sow early spring 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 mid spring.
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.