1. Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nuttall, Gen. N. Amer. Pl. 1: 235. 1818.
Bear-grass, squaw-grass, elk-grass, Indian-basket-grass
Helonias tenax Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. 1: 243, plate 9. 1814; Xerophyllum douglasii S. Watson
Stems (0.8–)1.2–1.8(–2) m. Leaf blade 2–8(–10) dm × 2–4(–6) mm. Racemes 5–7 dm. Tepals oblong to lanceolate, 6–9 × 2–3 mm; styles 4 mm. Capsules 5–7 mm. Seeds 4 per locule. 2n = 30.
Flowering spring--early summer. Open coniferous woods, dry ridges, rocky slopes, and clearings; 0--2300 m; Alta., B.C.; Calif., Idaho, Mont., Oreg., Wash., Wyo.
Xerophyllum tenax, variable in plant and flower size, is without evident geographic races (S. M. Maule 1959). Similar in most respects to X. asphodeloides but more robust, X. tenax typically has twice the number of flowers (F. H. Utech 1978c). The leaf fibers were used by native tribes for garments and decorative, watertight baskets. The bulbous rhizomes were roasted for several days before being eaten.
Maule, S. M. 1959. Xerophyllum tenax, squawgrass, its geographic distribution and its behavior on Mount Rainier, Washington. Madroño 15: 39–48.