E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Aristida purpurea Nutt.
red three-awn (purple threeawn)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Aristida purpurea
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Aristida purpurea var. longiseta

Species Information

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Perennial, strongly tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems hollow, minutely rough, mostly (15) 20-40 cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades 1-2 mm wide, 7-25 cm long, in-rolled, minutely rough; ligules scarcely 0.5 mm long, membranous, the frontal margins with hairs 2-3 mm long.
Inflorescence a narrow panicle, 5-10 cm long, the branches mostly loosely ascending; lower glumes 7-13 mm long, about 1/2 the length of the upper ones, awn-tipped; florets 10-15 mm long, the calluses flattened, about 1 mm long; lemma awns (4) 5-8 cm long, 3-branched, the lateral branches divergent; paleas 2-2.5 mm long, slightly surpassed by the lodicules.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry grasslands, shrublands and forest openings in the steppe and lower montane zones; frequent in SC BC, less frequent eastward in S BC; E to SW MB and S to LA, TX, NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Aristida purpurea

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 352 444 538
Slope Gradient (%) 0 16 40
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
175 195 205
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 1 2
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(5)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

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