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

Avena fatua L.
wild oat
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #9514)

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Distribution of Avena fatua
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Species Information

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Annual grass from fibrous roots; stems hollow, up to 80 cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades 3-10 (15) mm wide, rough and often more or less soft-hairy; ligules (1) 3-6 mm long, membranous, short-hairy, rounded to pointed, the margins jagged and fringed with small hairs.
Inflorescence a large, open panicle, the branches pendulous; spikelets usually with 3 florets, in addition to the rudiments tipping the prolonged rachilla, the lower 2 florets with much twisted, strongly bent awns up to 4 cm long; glumes 20-25 mm long, more or less equal, both usually surpassing the florets; lemmas hardened at the base, the nerves obscure, usually stiff-hairy or nearly smooth, the upper portions greenish and plainly ribbed, the tips thin and membranous and sharply bilobed for about 1 mm, the calluses densely bearded; rachilla readily disarticulating between the florets, strongly bearded or sometimes nearly smooth; anthers 4-5 mm long; lodicules nearly 2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Spring
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic fields and waste areas in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in S BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Avena fatua

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) 968 968 968
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]
1 1 1
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: ICH(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

Avena fatua var. glabrata Peterm.
Avena fatua var. vilis (Wallr.) Hausskn.
Avena hybrida Peterm. ex Rchb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References