Arrhenatherum elatius (L.) P. Beauv. ex J. Presl & C. Presl
tall oatgrass (false oatgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #13636)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Arrhenatherum elatius
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems erect, hollow, sometimes hairy at the nodes, the base frequently enlarged and bulblike, often rooting at the first few nodes, but not truly rhizomatous, mostly 80-150 cm tall.
Sheaths open, usually smooth, sometimes rough; blades flat, 4-8 (10) mm wide, 7-25 cm long, rough and often soft-hairy; ligules 1-2 (3) mm long, membranous, the margins jagged and fringed with small hairs, finely short-hairy, blunt.
Inflorescence a narrow, shining panicle, 10-30 cm long; glumes awnless, the lower glumes mostly 5-7 mm long, the upper ones 7-10 mm long; lemmas 5- to 7-nerved, hairy on the callus, awn of the lower lemmas 10-20 mm long, those of the upper lemmas 4-6 (15) mm long or rarely lacking; paleas about equalling the lemmas; anthers about 4 mm long; lodicules 2.5-3.5 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.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


Ecological Framework for Arrhenatherum elatius

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)
30 30 30
Slope Gradient (%)
0 0 0

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

Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 6 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

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


Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry meadows, rock outcrops, fields and disturbed sites in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in SW BC, rare in SC BC; introduced from Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia