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

Vulpia microstachys (Nutt.) Munro
small fescue
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #9259)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Vulpia microstachys
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Annual, loosely tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems sometimes solitary, erect (sometimes bent or angled at the lower nodes), (5) 15-35 (40) cm tall.
Sheaths smooth or short-hairy; blades in-rolled or sometimes flat, smooth or short-hairy, to 1 mm wide; ligules 0.2-0.5 (1) mm long.
Inflorescence an open panicle (sometimes reduced to a raceme), the lower branches (and spikelet stalks) spreading or directed backward, (3) 5-11 (14) cm long, the base with callus-like swellings in the axils at maturity; spikelets 4-9 mm long (excluding awns), (1-) 2- to 6- (7-) flowered, the florets loosely overlapping; glumes smooth or short-hairy, the lower glumes 1-nerved, (1.7) 3-6 mm long, the upper glumes 3-nerved, (3.5) 5-8 mm long; lemmas smooth or short-hairy, lanceolate, (3.5) 4.5-7.5 (8) mm long, the terminal awns (3) 6-13 (20) mm long; rachilla internodes about 1 mm long; anthers 1 (rarely 2 or 3), 0.3-3 (3.5) mm long.
Several dubious varieties are sometimes recognized based on the presence and distribution of hairs.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry fields, rock slopes, roadsides and waste areas in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in SW BC, rare in SC BC; S to NM, AZ, and CA; South America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Vulpia microstachys

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) 137 640 1280
Slope Gradient (%) 0 29 84
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
70 123 315
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 6
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(2), CDF(1), CWH(3), ICH(1), IDF(2), SBS(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

Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora (Scribn. ex Beal) Lonard & Gould

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References