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

Calamagrostis nutkaensis (J. Presl) J. Presl ex Steud.
Pacific reedgrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7384)

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Distribution of Calamagrostis nutkaensis
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Species Information

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Perennial, densely tufted grass from fibrous roots and rhizomes; stems stout, 60-100 cm or more tall, with 2 to 3 nodes.
Sheaths loosely open at the stem base; leaf blades flat to folded, 4-7 (10) mm wide, to 28 cm long; ligules 1-4 mm long, often hidden by the expanded collars.
Inflorescence a somewhat loose but narrow and erect panicle, 12-30 cm long, its branches 5-7 (10) cm long, bearing spikelets on the upper 1/2; spikelets 1-flowered; glumes 5-7 (8) mm long, long-pointed, smooth to rough, especially on the keels; lemmas 4-5 mm long; minutely 4-toothed at the tips, awned, awn straight or weakly twisted and bent, attached near the middle of the lemmas, reaching to about the lemma tips, the callus hairs of unequal lengths, 1.5-2 mm long; rachillas 0.5-1 mm long, with scant hairs to 1 mm long; anthers 3 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet to dry meadows, bogs, beaches, sand dunes and open forests in the lowland to subalpine zones; frequent in coastal BC; N to AK and S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Calamagrostis nutkaensis

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) 0 194 1450
Slope Gradient (%) 0 27 150
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 60 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 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: CDF(1), CMA(4), CWH(302), ICH(1), MH(61)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine (in hypermaritime climates). Pacific North American grass. Occurs in hypermaritime to maritime summer-wet cool mesothermal climates on very moist to wet, nitrogen­medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Scattered to abundant on water-shedding and water-receiving sites in ocean-exposed forests of west Vancouver Island, central mainland, and Queen Charlotte Islands. Also inhabits non-forested littoral sites (beaches, marshes, and rocky shores) that are affected by ocean spray, fog, and/or brackish water. Characteristic of hypermaritime forests.

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 cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Deyeuxia nutkaensis J. Presl

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References