Danthonia unispicata (Thurb.) Munro ex Macoun
one-spike oatgrass (onespike danthonia)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


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E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Danthonia unispicata
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Species Information

Perennial tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems disarticulating at the nodes, (10) 15-30 (42) cm tall.
Sheaths usually densely soft-hairy, the hairs often arising from pimples, sometimes the upper ones smooth; blades sparsely to densely soft-hairy and/or rough to stiff-hairy, rarely smooth, 1-3 mm wide; ligules less than 1 mm long, fringed with short hairs.
Inflorescence with 1 or 2 (3) spikelets, then in a raceme, the lower spikelets on stiff, erect stalks shorter than the length of the spikelets; spikelets (8) 12-26 mm long; lemmas smooth over the back, soft-hairy on the margins, 5.5-11 mm long, the apical teeth pointed to stiff-awned, the awns (1.5) 2-6 (7) mm long, awned from the back, the awns abruptly bent, 5.5-13 mm long, the calluses longer than wide, with stiff hairs laterally; anthers to 3.5 mm long.
Possibly better treated as Danthonia californica var. unispicata Thurb.

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 Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Danthonia unispicata

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)
1433 912 1909
Slope Gradient (%)
39 2 77

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

187 142 238
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 1 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

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

ESSF(3), ICH(2), IDF(1), MS(2)

Habitat and Range

Dry to mesic grasslands, meadows, rocky slopes and forest openings from the lowland to subalpine zones; infrequent in S BC; E to SK and S to SD, CO, UT, NV and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia