Native Grass

Canada Wildrye

Canada wildrye is a tall, tufted, cool season, perennial bunchgrass. It is also known as nodding wildrye in some areas.

It grows from a deep, spreading root system, occasionally with short rhizomes.

Erect and leafy hollow stems grow to 60 to 150 cm (24 to 59 in.) in height. Leaf blades are flat and wide, waxy green, and sometimes curled. Its seed heads self-pollinate, with some cross-pollination.

Rocky Mountain/Alpine Fescue

Rocky Mountain fescue is a densely tufted, low-growing, perennial bunchgrass with dense fibrous roots. Alpine fescue is very similar in growth habit but slightly shorter in stature. Both are cool season native grasses. There has been some variety development research in the last 10 years by Alberta Research Council researchers in Vegreville, Alberta.

Blue Wildrye

Blue wildrye, also known as smooth wildrye, is a bluish-green, tall, tufted, native cool season perennial grass. The root system is fibrous and may have short rhizomes. The plant forms small tufts of a few stems between 50 to 150 cm (20 to 59 in.) tall. The stems have a waxy covering that contribute to the plant’s bluish-green colour and name.

Bluebunch Wheatgrass

Bluebunch wheatgrass is a native, perennial, cool season bunchgrass with fibrous roots, sometimes forming clumps as wide as 150 cm (59 in.). Stems range from 60 to130 cm (24 to 51 in.) tall, with narrow leaves mostly originating from the stem.

Reed Canarygrass

Reed canarygrass is a well-adapted, long-lived, cool season, perennial native grass. It grows well in wet areas but also can tolerate some drier areas.

Extensive sod-forming root systems are produced by crowns below the soil surface. The plant may appear to be bunched but actually produces large diameter, short rhizomes, which in turn produce new shoots and roots.

Stems are coarse and erect, growing up to 200 cm (79 in.) tall. Leaves are pale green, large, flat, and wide up to 20 mm (3/4 in.) wide.

Western Wheatgrass

Western wheatgrass is a native cool-season perennial grass that grows from conspicuous white rhizomes, and is strongly rhizomatous. Western wheatgrass is a sub-dominant in plant communities with bluebunch wheatgrass and Idaho fescue, and is dominant on many sites on mixed-grass prairie east of the Rockies. On clay sites it is usually found with green needlegrass (Nassella viridula (Trin.) Barkworth - syn. Stipa viridula).

Tufted Hairgrass

Tufted hairgrass is a short-lived, tufted, cool season, native perennial bunchgrass. Roots are shallow, fibrous, and dense. A mass of deep green leaves covers the crown. Densely tufted and with numerous stems, this native grass is found throughout British Columbia. Seed production is important for stand maintenance. It is valuable as a range grass and fairly resistant to close grazing.

Fowl Bluegrass

Fowl bluegrass is a loosely tufted, low growing, native, cool season, perennial bunchgrass. It is commonly a minor component in native grass seed mixes. It has fibrous roots and a tufted bunchgrass growth habit, but can form a weak sod. It grows 40 to 122 cm (16 to 48 in.) tall. Stems are erect, purplish, and curved at the base. The leaves are greenish, flat or folded, and 1.5 to 3 mm wide with boat or keel-shaped tips. The tiny flowers of fowl bluegrass are produced in mid-spring and are yellow.

Bluejoint Reedgrass

Bluejoint is a robust, hardy, tall, tufted, perennial grass native to boreal forests. It gets its name from the purplish-blue nodes on its stems, and is also referred to as Canada bluejoint grass, reedgrass, marsh reedgrass, and Scribner’s reedgrass. It provides good spring forage for livestock and native ungulates. When harvested as livestock feed from wet meadows that contain significant amounts of bluejoint reedgrass, it is referred to as “beaver grass.”

Rough Fescue

Rough fescue is a densely tufted, native perennial bunchgrass, and an important component of British Columbia’s native grasslands. The name rough refers to the rough edges of the leaves and stems.

It has fibrous roots and is rarely rhizomatous. Plants spread from tufts growing at the edges of the crowns.


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