Agrostis mertensii Trin.
northern bentgrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Ryan Batten     (Photo ID #52766)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Agrostis mertensii
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots, some shoots non-flowering; stems 10-40 cm tall.
Sheaths smooth; blades 2.5-13 cm long, 1-3 mm wide, flat; ligules 1.5-3 mm long.
Inflorescence broadly egg-shaped to lanceolate, usually open, loose or more or less constricted, 3-10 cm long, at least twice as long as wide, the branches more or less stiff, ascending or appressed, the lower branches to 4 cm long, branching above the middle, the spikelets sparse, borne mostly above the midpoints; spikelets usually 1.8-3 mm long; glumes 2.5-3.8 mm long; lemmas 1.6-2.6 mm long, the awns attached just below the middle from the back, 3-4 mm long, bent, the callus hairs to 0.2 mm long; paleas absent; anthers 0.5-0.8 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Agrostis mertensii

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)
868 469 1260
Slope Gradient (%)
23 0 60

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

187 90 300
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BWBS(4), ICH(1), IDF(1), MS(3)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry meadows, streambanks, cliffs and scree slopes in the lowland to alpine zones; infrequent throughout BC; circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to SC, TN, CO, UT and WA; Greenland, N Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Agrostis bakeri Rydb.
Agrostis borealis Hartm.
Agrostis borealis var. americana (Scribn.) Fernald
Agrostis borealis var. paludosa (Scribn.) Fernald
Agrostis idahoensis var. bakeri (Rydb.) W.A. Weber
Agrostis mertensii subsp. borealis (Hartman) Tzvelev
Agrostis rupestris auct. non All.