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

Agrostis variabilis Rydb.
mountain bentgrass (variable bentgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Agrostis variabilis
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Species Information

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Perennial, densely tufted grass from fibrous roots, sometimes from short rhizomes less than 5 cm long; stems 4-30 cm tall.
Sheaths smooth; blades 3-7 cm long, less than 2 mm wide, flat, becoming folded; ligules 1-2.5 mm long.
Inflorescence narrowly cylindrical, more or less constricted, usually dense, 2-8 cm long, the branches ascending to erect or appressed, the lower ones 0.5-1.5 cm long, the spikelets numerous, few or none near the branch base; glumes 2-2.5 mm long, rough short-hairy on the keels, pointed; lemmas 1.5-2 mm long, awnless, the callus hairs sparse to abundant, to 0.2 mm long; paleas absent; anthers 0.5-0.7 mm long.
See comments under A. humilis.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist meadows, moraines and rocky slopes in the subalpine to alpine zones; frequent in BC in and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; E to AB and S to NM, UT, NV and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Agrostis variabilis

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) 850 1967 2649
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 183 342
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 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: AT(35), BAFA(1), BWBS(1), ESSF(57), ICH(2), IMA(7), MS(4), SBPS(1), 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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Agrostis rossiae Vasey

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References