Aira caryophyllea L.
silver hairgrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #13635)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Aira caryophyllea
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Annual, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems 1 to several, slender, delicate, hollow, smooth or short-hairy below the nodes, 5-30 cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades 4-15 cm long, 0.3-0.7 mm wide, threadlike, in-rolled; ligules 1.5-3.5 mm long, blunt, minutely rough to short-hairy, more or less irregular and jagged.
Inflorescence an open panicle, 2-6 cm long and nearly as wide; spikelet stalks longer than spikelets; glumes 2.5-2.8 (3) mm long; lemmas 2-2.3 mm long, awned, the awns 2.5-3.5 mm long; anthers about 0.3 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 Aira caryophyllea

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)
171 15 382
Slope Gradient (%)
38 0 210

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

177 19 280
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 0 3
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

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

CDF(16), CWH(4), IDF(1)

Habitat and Range

Vernally moist to dry, gravelly or rocky, open sites; common on S Vancouver Island, less frequent in the Gulf Islands and lower mainland, rare in the Queen Charlotte Islands; introduced from Europe.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Aira capillaris Host, non Savi
Aira caryophyllea var. capillaris (Host) Mutel
Aira elegans subsp. ambigua (Arcang.) Holub
Aira elegantissima Schur
Aspris capillaris (Host) Hitchc.