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

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

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13636)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Arrhenatherum elatius
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / 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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References