Nolina brittoniana

Common Names:
Britton's bear-grass
Growth Habit:
Subshrub, Shrub
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
S.K. Maddox
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Bok Tower Gardens

The conservation of Nolina brittoniana is fully sponsored.
S.K. Maddox contributed to this Plant Profile.


Nolina brittoniana is a perennial herb that is a member of the Agavaceae family. It has the typical agave-like long, stiff leaves in a grass-like clump that rise from a bulbous stem. The youngest leaves are erect while the older leaves (up to 6 feet long, 0.5 inch wide) spread on the ground. The flowering stalk reaches from 3 to 6 feet tall, and is topped with a large, showy cluster of small while flowers. Britton's beargrass flowers from March to May, but fruits, leaves, and growth habit are distinctive all year. Male and female flowers are usually borne on separate plants. Both plants are very conspicuous during flowering. The fruits are a papery, symmetrical, 3-lobed capsule, persisting through the summer (FNAI 2000).

This species may be mistaken for Nolina atopocarpa, which is a related species that may occur in the same area as Nolina brittoniana. The two species can be distinguished from one another by the shorter leaves, green (rather than white) flowers, and asymmetric fruits characteristic of Nolina atopocarpa. (USFWS 1996)

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research