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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #17176)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Puccinellia distans
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

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.


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)
839 285 1393
Slope Gradient (%)
1 0 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]
5 4 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia