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

Alopecurus aequalis Sobol.
little meadow-foxtail (shortawn foxtail)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #68913)

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Distribution of Alopecurus aequalis
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Alopecurus aequalis var. aequalis

Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots (sometimes flowering as a winter annual); stems erect or decumbent and freely rooting at the nodes (especially when growing in standing water), 20-70 cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades lax to firm, densely and minutely rough at least on the upper surfaces, (1) 2-5 mm wide; ligules jagged or entire, sharp-pointed but usually folded back, (2) 4-8 mm long.
Inflorescence a pale green, cylindrical panicle, mostly 1.5-7 (8) cm long; spikelets less than 4 mm long (excluding the awns); glumes (1.8) 2-2.3 (2.5) mm long, more or less silky over the back, the nerves fringed with long, fine hairs, tips rounded and somewhat wax-papery; lemmas with margins fused for slightly less than 1/2 their length, subequal to the glumes, awned, the awns inserted at or just below midlength, straight, about equal to or slightly longer than the glumes (exserted less than 1.5 mm beyond them), 2-3 mm long; anthers (0.5) 0.6-0.7 (1) mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Wet to mesic (including drying) shores, sloughs, streambanks, clearings and ditches from the lowland and steppe to montane zones; common throughout BC; circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, VA, TN, MO, NE, NM, AZ and CA; Eurasia, Greenland.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Alopecurus aequalis

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) 450 1078 2470
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 30
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 35 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 6 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: BG(4), ICH(1), IDF(13), IMA(1), PP(2), SBPS(10), 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

Alopecurus aequalis subsp. aequalis

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References