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

Danthonia unispicata (Thurb.) Munro ex Macoun
one-spike oatgrass (onespike danthonia)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Danthonia unispicata
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Species Information

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Perennial tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems disarticulating at the nodes, (10) 15-30 (42) cm tall.
Sheaths usually densely soft-hairy, the hairs often arising from pimples, sometimes the upper ones smooth; blades sparsely to densely soft-hairy and/or rough to stiff-hairy, rarely smooth, 1-3 mm wide; ligules less than 1 mm long, fringed with short hairs.
Inflorescence with 1 or 2 (3) spikelets, then in a raceme, the lower spikelets on stiff, erect stalks shorter than the length of the spikelets; spikelets (8) 12-26 mm long; lemmas smooth over the back, soft-hairy on the margins, 5.5-11 mm long, the apical teeth pointed to stiff-awned, the awns (1.5) 2-6 (7) mm long, awned from the back, the awns abruptly bent, 5.5-13 mm long, the calluses longer than wide, with stiff hairs laterally; anthers to 3.5 mm long.
Possibly better treated as Danthonia californica var. unispicata Thurb.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic grasslands, meadows, rocky slopes and forest openings from the lowland to subalpine zones; infrequent in S BC; E to SK and S to SD, CO, UT, NV and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Danthonia unispicata

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) 912 1433 1909
Slope Gradient (%) 2 39 77
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
142 187 238
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 2 4
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: ESSF(3), ICH(2), IDF(1), MS(2)


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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