Page author: Don Knoke
Melica smithii
Smith's melic grass

Distribution: Slouthern British Columbia south to Oregon, east to Alberta and Wyoming.

Habitat: Moist woods.

Flowers: June - August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Tufted perennial, the culms 6-13 dm. tall, not bulbous at the base.


Sheaths closed to the top, glabrous to pubescent; ligules 3-9 mm. long, truncate to obtuse, closed in front until split; blades flat, lax, 5-10 mm. broad, with prominent, wide-spaced nerves.


Inflorescence an open panicle 12-30 cm. long, the branches solitary, distant, drooping, bearing a few spikelets above mid-length; spikelets loosely 4- to 6-flowered; rachilla joints about 3 mm. long; glumes narrow, the first 5-6 mm. long, apparently 1-nerved, the second 8-9 mm. long, distinctly 3-nerved; lemmas strongly 7-nerved, about 10 mm. long, bifid at the apex for about 1 mm. with an awn 4-7 mm. long from between the teeth; paleas 2/3 as long as the lemmas; spikelets with 2-several perfect flowers, but the upper 2-4 flowers sterile, forming a spindle-like body about 5 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Melica smithii (Porter ex A. Gray) Vasey
Publication: Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 15: 294. 1888.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Avena smithii Porter ex A. Gray
Bromelica smithii (Porter ex A. Gray) Farw.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Melica smithii in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Melica smithii checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Melica smithii atlas page.

CalPhotos: Melica smithii photos.

USDA Plants: Melica smithii information.

7 photographs:
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