Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Danthonia spicata
poverty oatgrass

Distribution: Occurring chiefly west of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia south on both sides of the Cascades to Oregon, east to Newfoundland and eastern United States.

Habitat: Sandy to rocky soil in dry woods and fairly dry meadows.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Strongly tufted perennial, the culms hollow, glabrous or puberulent, 2-7 dm. tall.


Sheaths open, glabrous to pubescent, with hairs on the collar 1.5-3.5 mm. long; ligule only 0.5 mm. long; blades usually involute, 0.5-2 mm. broad, short and erect to elongate and curled.


Inflorescence a raceme-like panicle 2-5 cm. long, often one-sided, the branches very short and usually with only one spikelet; glumes slender, subequal, 9-12 mm. long; lemmas 4-5 mm. long, sparsely hairy on the back, bifid, the teeth from acute and 0.5 mm. long to acuminate and 2 mm. long; awn attached just below the lobes of the lemma, 8-9 mm. long; callus lightly bearded; paleas broad, shorter than the lemmas.

Accepted Name:
Danthonia spicata (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Danthonia spicata (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult. var. longipila Scribn. & Merr.
Danthonia spicata (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult. var. pinetorum Piper [HC]
Danthonia thermalis Scribn., orthographic variant
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Danthonia spicata in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Danthonia spicata checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Danthonia spicata atlas page.

CalPhotos: Danthonia spicata photos.

USDA Plants: Danthonia spicata information.

10 photographs:
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