California cottontop

Digitaria californica



This bunchgrass has hard, stiffly erect, round stems growing from a knotty, swollen, hairy base. Leaves are 3 to 5 inches long, flat, and do not clasp the stem firmly. The panicle is 2 to 5 inches long with white to purplish hairs that are longer than the spikelets. This gives the seed head a cottony appearance.

California cottontop is a perennial, warm-season, native - 12 to 48 inches tall.

Good grazing for livestock. Fair grazing for wildlife.


Grows in open, well drained areas on a wide variety of soils. It is palatable throughout the year and is frequently overgrazed, but responds well to grazing deferment.