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

Distichlis spicata var. stricta (L.) Greene (Torr.) Scribn.
alkali saltgrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Distichlis spicata var. stricta
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Species Information

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Perennial, dioecious grass from rhizomes, the rhizomes extensive, sharp-tipped, sometimes more or less stoloniferous; stems solid, sometimes decumbent, 10-40 cm tall/long.
Sheaths smooth except on the summits of the margins, the collars with or without long hairs; blades 2-4 mm wide, mostly in-rolled, smooth or soft-hairy to stiff-hairy on the upper surface; ligules about 0.5 mm long, the margins irregularly jagged, more or less fringed with coarse hairs, the fronts of the collars with many hairs, 0.5-3 mm long.
Inflorescence a compact to loose panicle 3-8 cm long, the spikelets and their stalks obvious or the stalks not obvious; spikelets few- to many-flowered, the male ones yellowish, 7- to 16-flowered, strongly compressed, the female more greenish, 5- to 9-flowered; glumes shorter than the lower lemmas, unequal, the lower ones about 3.5 mm long, the upper about 5 mm long; lemmas membranous (male spikelets) or more or less firm-papery (female spikelets), about 3-6 mm long, the female lemmas harder.
Two varieties occur in BC

1. Long hairs usually present on the collars as well as at the summits of the sheath margins; plants of the steppe zone..................... var. stricta (Torr.) Beetle

1. Hairs usually lacking on the collars, present only on the summits of the sheath margins; plants maritime....................... var. spicata

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Sandy lake shores and moist alkaline meadows in the steppe zone (var. stricta) or coastal beaches and salt marshes (var. spicata); var. spicata - frequent in SW BC; var. stricta - common in SC BC; var. stricta - E to SK and S to MO, OK, TX and CA; var. spicata - S to CA, disjunct to E coast of North America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Distichlis spicata var. stricta

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) 279 830 1125
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 15
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
102 242 334
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 5 7
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: BG(6), IDF(26), PP(9), SBPS(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

Distichlis dentata

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References