Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Devil's Shoestring, Ribbon Grass, Lindheimer's Nolina, Beargrass
Nolina lindheimeriana

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Nolina (no-LEE-na) (Info)
Species: lindheimeriana (lind-hy-mer-ee-AY-nuh) (Info)

Synonym:Beaucarnea lindheimeriana
Synonym:Dasylirion lindheimerianum
Synonym:Dasylirion tenuifolium

One vendor has this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive htop On Jul 23, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Devil's shoestring is an evergreen endemic Texas native and is endemic to the Edward's Plateau region. Devil's shoestring adapts to a wide variety of soil types, but is at home in the limestone based alkaline Hill Country soils as long as the site has excellent drainage. Usually, the plants may be found growing on limestone hills of open woodlands and scrubland or in ravines. It will gtow in full sun, partial sun or shade. It is extremel heat and drought tolerant. It is reportedly toxic to livestock (sheep especially); however, tender young bloom stalks may be susceptible to damage where deer pressure is high. Once established, it is deer resistant except during times of severe drought. Nolina lindheimeriana is quite infrequent and becoming more so as its habitat is destroyed through development or overgrazing. The plant whose photo is posted here was destroyed a few days after I photograhed it as the road was being widened. I wish I had known this was going to happen because I would have dug it up and tried to plant it in my yard. It is difficult to transplant because it is difficult to not injure the taproot as it is being dug up.

This ornamental species has 12 to 36 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, grasslike, rich green leaves which arise in a dense whorl from a rosette. They are minutely sawtoothed along the margin. The leaves spread out gracefully arching to the ground and cover a 2 to 4 feet wide area. It resembles a fine-leafed yucca (but blooms and seed capsules are different). Its clumps show to best advantage when not crowded so they should be planted 3-4 feet apart.

In late May through July, 2-3 feet bloom stalks arise above the foliage qhich produces creamy yellowish-green (may be white to creamish white), 1.82.5 mm flowers. Nolinas are polygamo-dioecious; that is, they usually have male and female flowers on separate plants, but each plant also has a few perfect flowers (male and female flower parts on one flower). These transform into rows of attractive, first green and then purplish-tinged, somewhat inflated, thin, notched at each end, papery, winged 6 to 10mm long and 711 mm wide seed capsules. The seeds in the capsules are rounded and between long and between 2.43.3 mm wide.

Considered a small shrub, devil's shoestring would be an excellent choice as an accent plant or groundcover for areas with dry well drained soil and could be used as a groundcover in partial shade instead of invasive vinca. Mix it in with blackfoot daisy or xemenia for summer color. Watering should be unnecessary after the plant is established.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona
Denver, Colorado
Roswell, New Mexico
Nashville, Tennessee
San Antonio, Texas

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