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

Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx.) P. Beauv.
bluejoint reedgrass (bluejoint)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25718)

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Distribution of Calamagrostis canadensis
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Species Information

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Perennial grass from fibrous roots and rhizomes; stems 60-150 cm tall, smooth, with 3 to 8 nodes, often branching above.
Sheath summits smooth to strongly hairy; leaf blades lax, usually flat, rough on both surfaces, often glaucous above, 5-30 cm long, mostly 3-8 mm wide; ligules mostly 3-8 mm long, with jagged margins.
Inforescence an open, lax or sometimes narrow panicle 10-25 cm long, the longer branches 3-8 cm long, sparsely- to densely-flowered on the upper 1/2; spikelets 1-flowered; glumes usually purple-tinged, thin, translucent along the margins, sharp- to long-pointed, usually rough, often bristly on the keels; lemmas thin, 2.5-4.5 mm long, with delicate, straight awns attached just below the middle and extending to or just beyond the tips, the callus hairs copious, mostly of uniform length, about as long as the lemmas; paleas thin, 1/2 to almost as long as the lemmas; rachillas short, inconspicuous, sparsely bearded with long hairs.
Two intergrading varieties are recognized in BC and delimitation of each is arbitrary. Variety langsdorfii also intergrades with C. lapponica. The two varieties may be separated as follows:

1. Glumes 3-4 mm long, inconspicuously rough and thin, the keels lacking bristlelike hairs, translucent on the margins; awns thin, not prominent.................... var. canadensis

1. Glumes 4-6 mm long, conspicuously rough, the keels with bristlelike hairs, usually not translucent on the margins; awns thick, more prominent.................. var. langsdorfii (Link) Inman

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Yellow
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet bogs, marshes, meadows, clearings and open forests in the lowland to lower alpine zones; var. canadensis - common throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare in coastal BC; var. langsdorfii - common in N BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, less frequent southward; circumboreal, N to AK, YT, NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, NY, NC, TN, MO, KS, NM, AZ and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Calamagrostis canadensis

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) 0 1098 2420
Slope Gradient (%) -5 9 200
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 178 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 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: AT(5), bafa(35), BG(3), BWBS(762), CDF(1), CMA(4), CWH(130), ESSF(1358), ICH(560), IDF(197), IMA(1), MH(45), MS(453), PP(8), SBPS(167), SBS(1659), SWB(142)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circumpolar grass (transcontinental in North America). Occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen-medium soils within boreal, wet temperate. and cool mesothermal climates. Common in semi-terrestrial communities on water-receiving and collecting sites (flood­plains. fens, and marshes). Characteristic of wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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