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

Phalaris arundinacea L. var. arundinacea
reed canarygrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Phalaris arundinacea var. arundinacea
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Species Information

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Perennial grass from conspicuous rhizomes; stems 50-150 (200) cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades flat, 7-17 mm wide; ligules rounded, usually with irregular, jagged margins, turned backwards, short-hairy externally, 4-10 mm long.
Inflorescence a compact panicle, 7-15 (25) cm long, the branches more or less spreading at maturity; glumes slightly unequal, minutely rough and short-hairy, 3-nerved, sharp-pointed, 4.5-5 mm long; sterile lemmas hairy, brownish, 1-1.5 mm long; fertile lemmas nearly smooth, lightly 5-nerved, 3-4 mm long; paleas 2-nerved, nearly equal to the lemmas; lodicules lanceolate, about 0.5 mm long; anthers 2.5-3 mm long.
Sometimes introduced as a pasture grass. The variegated ornamental form (forma variegata [Parnell] Druce [var. picta L.]) sometimes occurs as a garden escape.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet meadows, ditches and lakeshores in the lowland and steppe to subalpine zones; common in S BC, rare northward; circumpolar N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, VA, AL, AR, OK, NM, AZ and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Phalaris arundinacea var. arundinacea

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) 5 597 1642
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 50
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
12 55 360
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: BG(14), CDF(10), CWH(16), ESSF(1), ICH(11), IDF(36), MS(2), PP(6), SBPS(2), SBS(15)

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