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Calamagrostis purpurascens
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Purple Reed Grass
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Calamagrostis purpurascens

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About Purple Reed Grass (Calamagrostis purpurascens) Calamagrostis purpurascens, variously known by the common names purple reedgrass, purple pinegrass, or alpine reedgrass is a perennial grass, growing 30 to 70 centimetres (28 in) tall. Calamagrostis purpurascens is native from arctic Greenland, to much of Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon Territory) and the western and northern U. S. (Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming). It is rare and scattered in the southern U. S. states, such as Louisiana, where it is a post-glacial relict. Further south, C. purpurascens is also known in Chile, where it was recorded by Rodolfo Amando Philippi in 1860. Philippi gave it the name Deyeuxia robusta, now relegated to synonymy. It is also found in Asia (in eastern Siberia). Habitat. C. purpurascens grows in dry mountainous zones, from high up on the foothills to close to the snow-line, often taking root in gaps in the talus, where few other plants can grow. Ecology. Carterocephalus palaemon (arctic skipper) butterflies eat the nectar from C. purpurascens flowers, and their caterpillars feed on the shoots. Ovis canadensis (bighorn sheep) are known to graze this grass.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 2.3 ft (0.3 - 0.7 m)

Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Elevation ?
46' - 13654'

Annual Precip. ?
11.9" - 94.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.26" - 3.26"

Coldest Month ?
18.9° F - 55.6° F

Hottest Month ?
38.8° F - 71.6° F

Humidity ?
0.55 vpd - 18.88 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Purple Reedgrass, Purple Pinegrass, Alpine Reedgrass

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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