Danthonia californica Boland. (D. americana Scribn., D. macounii A.S. Hitchc.)
Perennial tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems disarticulating at the nodes (ten) 30-130 cm tall. Leaves: Sheaths smooth or soft hairy, the upper ones usually smooth or unevenly soft hairy, the hairs 1-2 mm; blades (one) 2-5 (6) mm wide, flat to in-rolled, smooth to soft hairy; ligules less than 1 mm long, fringed with fine hairs. Flowers: Inflorescence a raceme of (two) three to six (ten) slightly to broadly spreading spikelets, the branches longer than the spikelets; spikelets (ten) 14-26 (30) mm long; lemmas 5-10 mm long, hairy along the margins, rarely smooth, sometimes sparsely hairy over the back, the apical teeth stiff-awned, (2) 4-6 (7) mm long, also awned from the back, these awns abruptly bent, (7) 8-12 mm long, the calluses usually longer than wide, with stiff hairs laterally; anthers to 4 mm long (Douglas et al., 2001). Photo by Toni Corelli.
Moist to dry grasslands, meadows, open woods, shorelines and rocky bluffs in lowland and montane zones (Douglas et al., 2001). Sandy and rocky ridges, lakeshores and in grasslands and meadows from low to middle elevations (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994). Meadows and open woods (Hitchcock, 1971).
Moderate forage for elk.
Use in a meadow, or mix with other native grasses as an unmowed lawn (B. Costanzo, personal communication). Plant large drifts in a meadow or use as a bank cover (S. Bastin, personal communication).
no seeds per kg
201,770 (Guerrant and Raven, 1995)
Store dry at 1-7º C.
fruit seed dormancy treatment
One- to three-day soak in running water and three months cold stratification at 1-5o C (Rose et al., 1998). Or, cold stratification at 20o C (for 16 hours) and 10o C (for 8 hours) for another six weeks (Guerrant and Raven, 1995). Plant seeds in a three-cubic-inch containers in an peat:vermiculite (1:1) medium and fertilize once a week with low nitrogen fertilizer. Seeds do not have a good germination rate (Rose et al., 1998).
Good success with plant division in fall or early winter. Useful for increasing stock. By division, collect plants during dormant season, or leave in lathhouse until dormant. Bring into greenhouse in January and divide into plants each with a single root system. Pot into containers and keep moist in a greenhouse with air temperatures of 18-21o C. After two weeks, plants can be moved back to lathhouse (Link, 1993).
additional info and photos
For more information and pictures, visit the E-Flora BC website at www.eflora.bc.ca.