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

Melica smithii (Porter ex A. Gray) Vasey
Smith's melic (Smith's melicgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Frank Lomer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #27758)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Melica smithii
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots, not bulbous-based; stems erect, 60-130 cm tall.
Sheaths closed to the tops, smooth to more or less stiff-hairy or generally hairy; blades often minutely rough, the nerves prominent and broadly spaced, 5-10 mm wide, flat, lax; ligules usually closed in front until split, coarsely jagged, blunt to rounded, 3-9 mm long, the collars smooth to short soft-hairy.
Inflorescence a panicle 12-30 cm long, the branches solitary, at flowering usually spreading to drooping or reflexed, bearing a few spikelets mostly above midlength; spikelets loosely (3-) 4- to 6-flowered, 10-17 mm long; glumes narrow, the lower ones 5-6 mm long, 3-nerved, but the lateral nerves very indistinct, the upper ones up to 7.5-9 mm long, distinctly 3-nerved, often abruptly sharp-pointed; lemmas finely minutely rough or short-hairy, strongly 7-nerved, bifid at the tips for about 1 mm, awned, the awns 3-10 mm long, borne between the teeth; anthers about 3 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist forests in the lowland and montane zones; rare in S and EC BC; E to SW AB and disjunctly to E ON and PQ and S to MI, WI, SD, MT, ID and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Melica smithii

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) 0 1111 1782
Slope Gradient (%) 0 24 75
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
24 215 359
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 4 8
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: CWH(4), ESSF(7), ICH(6), MH(1), MS(7), SBS(1)


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 cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Avena smithii Porter ex A. Gray
Bromelica smithii (Porter ex A. Gray) Farw.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References