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California Oatgrass Back to Plant Page
Danthonia californica

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About California Oatgrass (Danthonia californica) California Oatgrass (Danthonia californica) is a native grass that grows primarily in northern and central California, in the Coast Ranges and Sierras. It tends to grow in moist meadows and open places, at elevations from 500-7200 feet. It can be an attractive garden grass for the areas where it is native.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
2 - 3.3 ft (0.6 - 1 m)


Growth Rate

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Moist meadows and open places

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
3' - 14090'

Annual Precip. ?
9.6" - 154.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.20" - 5.82"

Coldest Month ?
10.8° F - 54.1° F

Hottest Month ?
34.1° F - 76.8° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 24.34 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers loamy or clay soils. Grows poorly in sandy soils.

Soil PH
5.2 - 6.8

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -5° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19, 20, 21, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Use with other moisture-loving plants of northern California, such as Cloumbine (Aquilegia eximia or formosa), Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum), Stream Orchid (Epipactis gigantea), Sneezeweed (Helenium sp.), Lotus (Hosackia sp.), Iris sp., Lilium sp., Lupinus sp., Monkeyflower (Mimulus sp.), Buttercup (Ranunculus sp.), and Bee Plant (Scrophularia californica)

Wildlife Attracted
This species is host plant to the Lindsey's Skipper butterfly

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Low, Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Rarely Used

Max. Summer Water ?
Keep moist
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Common uses
Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Other Names
Botanical Names
Danthonia californica var. americana|Danthonia californica var. californica

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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