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

Sporobolus airoides (Torr.) Torr.
hairgrass dropseed (alkali sacaton)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Sporobolus airoides
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Species Information

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Perennial, strongly tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems nearly circular in cross-section, tapered, hollow or sometimes pith-filled, smooth, up to 100 cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades strongly in-rolled, 2-4 mm wide, smooth beneath, very finely minutely rough above, sparsely and copiously stiff-hairy just above the ligules and along the throats, the longer hairs about 3 mm long, the collars smooth; ligules scarcely 0.5 mm long.
Inflorescence an open panicle, (10) 15-40 cm long, projecting beyond sheaths, the branches slender, spreading, bearing spikelets mainly near the tips; spikelets 1-flowered; glumes sharp-pointed, unequal, the lower ones about 1 mm long, the upper ones nearly twice as long, either or both often deciduous before the florets; lemmas 2-2.5 mm long, paleas nearly equal to the lemmas, tending to split to the base with maturity; lodicules fan-shaped, about 0.25 mm long; anthers 1-1.3 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic, often alkaline slopes, grasslands and shrublands in the steppe zone; rare in SC BC, known only from Osoyoos and Keremeos; S to AR, TX, MX and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sporobolus airoides

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) 665 665 665
Slope Gradient (%) 12 12 12
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
70 69 70
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 1 1
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: 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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Agrostis airoides Torr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References