Botanical name: Anemanthele lessoniana (also Stipa arundinacea)
Common names: New Zealand wind grass, pheasant's-tail grass
USDA zones: 8-10
Water requirement: Average to low
Sun requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 36" x 36"
Tolerances: Deer, drought, pollution, slopes, wind
Distinguishing traits. The coloring of Anemanthele lessoniana is a beautiful addition to any landscape year-round, particularly in autumn and winter when its olive green foliage transforms to a stunning sunset of golds and oranges. "Its golden color can either blend in with the golden California hills, or provide that bold pop of orange color against a green or gray plant palette," Smith says.
The graceful and arching silhouette of this grass is similar to many other perennial grasses. The wispy foliage adds an overall lightness to any landscape — particularly beneficial to a space dominated by heavy architecture or other solid or overpowering structures. “We have picked this grass for many of our projects because of its soft natural form," Smith says. "It is a gorgeous grass that plays beautifully in the wind. In many ways it is reminiscent of a native deer grass."