Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Danthonia californica
California oatgrass

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains.

Habitat: Open, grassy meadows to rocky ridges, from coastal prairies to mid-elevations in the mountains, often with ponderosa pine.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Tufted perennial, the culms hollow, 3-8 dm. tall.


Sheaths open, glabrous to hairy, usually with long hairs at the throat; ligules a fringe of hairs 1-2 mm. long; blades flat or slightly involute, glabrous or with soft hairs.


Inflorescence a small, open panicle; spikelets 2-5, several-flowered, at least 1 cm. long; glumes 14-18 mm. long, the first 3-nerved, the second 5-nerved; lemmas up to 14 mm. long, strongly bifid, the teeth awn-like, up to 4 mm. long, glabrous on the back, with marginal hairs, the callus short-bearded; awn attached just below the lobes of the lemma, flattened and twisted; paleas broad, shorter than the lemmas.

Accepted Name:
Danthonia californica Bol.
Publication: Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 2: 182. 1863. 1863.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Danthonia americana Scribn.
Danthonia californica Bol. var. americana (Scribn.) Hitchc.
Danthonia californica Bol. var. palousensis H. St. John
Danthonia californica Bol. var. piperi H. St. John
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Danthonia californica checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Danthonia californica information.

E-Flora BC: Danthonia californica atlas page.

CalPhotos: Danthonia californica photos.

USDA Plants: Danthonia californica information.

22 photographs:
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