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

Hierochloe hirta subsp. arctica (Schrank) Borbás
common sweetgrass (northern sweetgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20456)

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Distribution of Hierochloe hirta subsp. arctica
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted or solitary grass from rhizomes; stems erect, hollow, smooth, the collars usually smooth, 30-70 cm tall.
Sheaths open, smooth to short-hairy (on new leaves), purplish at the base, the collars on the new leaves usually white short-hairy; blades 3-5 mm wide and up to 25 cm long on the new leaves, those along the stems greatly shortened, 1-2 cm long; ligules mostly membranous, slightly eroded-jagged and more or less fringed with fine hairs, blunt to sharp-pointed, 3-5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows and forest openings from the lowland to subalpine zones; frequent in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and NB and S to ME, MA, NH, PA, NC, KY, IA, NE, NM, UT, NV and CA; Greenland, Iceland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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

Anthoxanthum hirtum subsp. arcticum (J. Presl) G. Tucker
Hierochloe arctica
Hierochloe odorata subsp. arctica (J. Presl) Tzvelev

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

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General References