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Danthonia californica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; sheath generally open; ligule membranous or hairy, at blade base. Inflorescence: various (of generally many spikelets). Spikelet: glumes generally 2; florets (lemma, palea, flower) 1--many; lemma generally membranous, sometimes glume-like; palea generally +- transparent, +- enclosed by lemma. Flower: generally bisexual, minute; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
Genera In Family: 650--900 genera; +- 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). Note: Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761--770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.
Genus: DanthoniaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: OAT GRASS
Habit: Perennial herb, cespitose. Stem: erect. Leaf: generally basal and cauline; sheaths < internodes; ligule short, densely ciliate; blade narrow, flat to folded. Inflorescence: generally raceme-like (occasionally panicle-like or spikelet 1). Spikelet: +- laterally compressed; glumes +- equal, > florets, papery, 1--7-veined; florets 3--8, breaking above glumes and between florets; callus short-hairy; lemma rounded, (5)7--11-veined, tip 2-toothed, awn 0 or generally awned on back below teeth, awn generally bent, flat, coiled below bend, straight, +- cylindric above bend; palea = lemma; anthers 3. Fruit: elliptic.
Species In Genus: 20 species: warm temperate, tropics, America, Europe, northern Africa. Etymology: (É. Danthoine, French botanist, agrostologist, 1739--1794) Note: Danthonia pilosa R. Br. now treated as Rytidosperma. Variation, especially in Danthonia californica, and Danthonia unispicata, needs study. Danthonia purpurea L. f. [Karroochloa purpurea (L. f.) Conert & Türpe], grown at the Botanical Garden at Berkeley, but not naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr. & Kelly W. Allred
Reference: Darbyshire 2003 FNANM 25:301--306

Danthonia californica Bol.
Stem: (1)3--13 dm. Leaf: basal and cauline; sheath glabrous to densely hairy, base papillate; upper blades 8--30 cm, generally 2--5 mm wide, glabrous or hairy, flat, abruptly spreading to reflexed. Inflorescence: generally raceme-like, 2--6 cm; lower branches flexible, divergent or reflexed at maturity. Spikelet: generally 3--6, generally 14--25 mm; stalk generally spreading, puberulent; glumes 10--23 mm; florets 3--8; lemma 5--15 mm, base, lower margin hairy, back +- glabrous, teeth 2--5 mm, awn 4--12 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=36.
Ecology: Generally moist meadows, open woodland; Elevation: 45--2300 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, CW, SnBr, s PR, MP; Distribution Outside California: to western United States, western Canada, South America (Chile). Flowering Time: Apr--Aug
Synonyms: Danthonia californica var. americana (Scribn.) Hitchc.; Danthonia californica var. californica;
Jepson eFlora Author: James P. Smith, Jr. & Kelly W. Allred
Reference: Darbyshire 2003 FNANM 25:301--306
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botanical illustration including Danthonia californica


Citation for this treatment: James P. Smith, Jr. & Kelly W. Allred 2012, Danthonia californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 13, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 13, 2018.

Danthonia californica var. americana
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Danthonia californica
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© 2007 Steve Matson
Danthonia californica
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© 2015 Steve Matson
Danthonia californica
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© 2007 Steve Matson
Danthonia californica
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© 2007 Steve Matson
Danthonia californica
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© 2010 Neal Kramer

More photos of Danthonia californica in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Danthonia californica:
NW, CaR, SN, CW, SnBr, s PR, MP;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.