Phleum alpinum L.
alpine timothy
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #4324)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Phleum alpinum
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, strongly tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems often decumbent, and rooting at the nodes, not bulbous at the base, 15-50 cm tall/long.
Sheaths smooth; blades flat, 4-7 mm wide, the margins rough; ligules blunt, nearly entire, 1-3 (4) mm long; ear-shaped lobes at the leaf-bases lacking or small and blunt to rounded, more obvious on the upper leaves.
Inflorescence a nearly globe-shaped to short-cylindrical panicle, 1-4.5 cm long, often over 1 cm wide when pressed; glumes hairy on the sides, fringed with long, bristlelike hairs on the keels, 3.5-4.5 mm long, abruptly narrowed to the stout awns, the awns 1.5-2.5 (3) mm long; lemmas short-hairy, toothed by the 5 nerves, 2-2.5 mm long; paleas nearly equal to the lemmas; anthers 1-1.4 (1.5) mm long.

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:
Late Spring
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Phleum alpinum

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)
1879 7 2563
Slope Gradient (%)
21 0 220

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

164 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

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

AT(76), BAFA(88), BWBS(3), CMA(4), CWH(5), ESSF(649), IMA(49), MH(19), MS(32), SBPS(3), SBS(5), SWB(23)

Habitat and Range

Moist to mesic meadows and streambanks from the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC except rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands and Vancouver Island; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NH, ME, SD, NM, AZ and CA; Greenland, Iceland, Eurasia, S America.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Phleum alpinum var. commutatum (Gaudin) Griseb.
Phleum commutatum Gaudin
Phleum commutatum var. americanum (Fourn.) Hultén