Calamagrostis rubescens Buckley
Bulkley - Nechako
Cariboo - Fraser Fort George
Thompson - Okanagan
Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir
Native plant community
Pinegrass is not typically part of native plant communities found in the Peace Region.
Pine grass is long-lived. Forage value is highest in the early part of the growing season.
Pinegrass is a native perennial adapted to dry woodlands and open slopes. This grass is erect, tufted, and often forms complete ground cover. The root system forms fibrous roots and long, extensive, creeping rhizomes. Extensive roots form thick sod, therefore making pinegrass an important soil protection species. Pinegrass stems grow erect, up to 100 cm (39 in.) tall. Leaf blades are long, drooping, and often hairy at the base. Seed heads form in dense panicles that often have a yellow-green or purplish tinge 6-15 (occasionally up to 25) cm (2-6 [occasionally up to 10 in.]) long. Spikelets are single-flowered.
Pinegrass is native to western North America.
Pinegrass is often found in low to mid-elevation forests in the Ponderosa Pine and Interior Douglas-fir zones. At mid to high elevations, pinegrass can be found in the Interior Cedar-Hemlock, Montane Spruce, Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir, Sub-Boreal Spruce, and Sub-Boreal Pine-Spruce zones.
Relatively drought resistant and adapted to well-drained soils. It occurs on dry meadows, rocky slopes, and open forests from low to subalpine elevations.
Pinegrass is very resilient against trampling and spreads rapidly by rhizomes.
In semi-open forest, production can be 273 kg/ha (243 lb/acre); it can be as high as 675 kg/ha in (603 lb/acre) open areas.
Fair palatability in the early spring but becoming harsh and tough by summer. Plant protein content is between 10 and 20% in the spring and drops to less than 5% by autumn.
Persists or may increase in pioneer seral stages.
This species is tolerant to drought and high temperatures.
Pinegrass tolerates moderate winter temperatures and is fairly frost tolerant.
Prefers pH levels of 5.5 to 8.0.
Pinegrass is shade tolerant to very shade tolerant. It occurs naturally under forest canopies and reduction of forest cover stimulates increased flowering.
Pinegrass establishes itself readily after light to moderate forest disturbances like logging or fire. Primary form of establishment and reproduction is through vegetative spread. Natural seed production is low except when plants are exposed to light. Germination percentage of seed is also low (38% or less) and is unaffected by germination treatments.