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

Puccinellia distans (Jacq.) Parl.
weeping alkaligrass (European alkaligrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17176)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Puccinellia distans
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems 10-40 (50) cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades flat to somewhat in-rolled, 1.5-3.5 mm wide; ligules entire, rounded, about 1 mm long.
Inflorescence an ultimately open panicle, 5-15 cm long, the branches rough, spreading to reflexed, the lower branches of fruiting inflorescences usually descending, occasionally spreading; spikelets (3-) 5- to 6-flowered, the spikelet stalks usually uniformly rough; glumes egg-shaped, usually minutely more or less fringed with fine hairs, the lower ones barely 1 mm long, the upper ones (1.5) 2 mm long; lemmas broadly egg-shaped, the margins entire below, roughly sharp-toothed near the tips, often more or less fringed with fine hairs, sparsely hairy near the base, (1.4) 1.6-1.8 (2) mm long, broadly rounded to blunt and jagged at the tips; paleas usually equalling or slightly exceeding the lemmas; lodicules barely 0.5 mm long; anthers 0.5-0.8 mm long.
Generally recognized as introduced but some populations with branches of the fruiting inflorescence nondescending, including some in BC, are possibly intergradational with P. nuttalliana, and may be native.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Saline or alkaline flats, lakeshores, coastal strands and disturbed sites in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare westward in BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Puccinellia distans

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) 285 839 1393
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 10
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
214 214 214
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(3), IDF(5), MS(1), PP(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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References