Highlands Biological Station buildings remain closed to visitors with the exception of limited visitor hours for the Nature Center.  HBS Botanical Garden trails remain open, and in accordance with University policy masks and physical distancing are required on the HBS campus.  Highlands Biological Station currently plans to offer academic and public programming in summer 2021, observing University mandated Covid-19 safety protocols.  For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.  Please see the HBS website for full summer 2021 Covid-19 safety policies and procedures, and bear in mind that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this spring. 

Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. glauca

Tufted Hair Grass


Grass Family


This perennial, cool-season grass is commonly called “Tufted Hairgrass”. It’s distribution is widespread throughout the United States, however, in North Carolina, D. cespitosa is at the southernmost end of its range and as such, is a rarer species in-situ.

Habitats are predominately rock outcrops (mafic, dolomitic,  calciferous), fens, meadows, and stream banks. Being that this plant is from the grass family (Poeaceae), the inflorescences are less pronounced than one might typically envision, but still significant. Wispy panicles, with small florets emerge in mid-summer, reaching heights between 30 and 50 cm.

As with all native perennial species, “Tufted Hairgrass” can be beneficial to our fauna and insect species even during dormant months. Once D. cespitosa has produced an inflorescence, the grass can be left to overwinter, providing shelter and habitat during the cold months. When the signs of spring begin to present themselves, in late-March to April, it can be cut back and primed for a new flush of growth.