Esparto, or esparto grass, also known as "halfah (alpha/alfa) grass" or "needle grass", Macrochloa tenacissima and Stipa tenacissima, is a perennial grass grown in northwest Africa and the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula employed for crafts (cords, baskets, espadrilles, etc.).
Esparto paper 
It is also used for fiber production for paper making. The fiber makes a high quality paper often used in book manufacturing. First used in Great Britain in 1850, it has been extensively used there and in Europe, but is rarely found in the United States because of the cost of transport. It is usually combined with five to ten percent wood pulp.
The "Spanish" grade is usually regarded as the higher-quality, while the "Tripoli" grade, from Africa, is the lesser in quality. The fibers are fairly short in relation to their width, yet do not create any significant amount of dust. Because of the short fiber length, the tensile strength of the paper is less than that of many other papers, but its resistance to shrinkage and stretching is superior, and the paper is a well-filled, dense paper with excellent inking qualities. It also has very good folding properties.
Related terms 
- Espartinas, a town in the province of Seville, Spain
- The family name Espartero means "esparto worker or seller".
- Atocha is another Spanish word for "esparto".
- Media related to Stipa tenacissima at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Stipa tenacissima at Wikispecies
- Esparto as a material
- Esparto Museum (Spanish)
- Esparto fine craftsmanship (Spanish)
- European influence and tribal society in Tunisia during the nineteenth century: the origins and impact of the trade in esparto grass 1870-1940. (1995) by Gavin McQuarrie, University of Durham, England