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

Aristida purpurea var. longiseta Nutt. (Steud.) Vasey
red three-awn (Fendler threeawn)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Aristida purpurea var. longiseta
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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

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Spring
Source:  The USDA

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 var. longiseta

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) 304 493 1450
Slope Gradient (%) 0 17 65
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 212 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
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(64), IDF(6), MS(2), PP(22)


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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Aristida fasciculata
Aristida longiseta Steud.
Aristida longiseta var. rariflora A.S. Hitchc.
Aristida longiseta var. robusta Merr.
Aristida purpurea var. robusta (Merr.) Piper

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References