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Leafy Reed Grass
Calamagrostis foliosa

About Leafy Reed Grass (Calamagrostis foliosa) Calamagrostis foliosa is a species in the Poaceae (Grass) family known by the common name Leafy Reedgrass. It is somewhat rare and endemic to northern California, from Mendocino County northward, where it grows in the forests and scrub on the coastline below 3,500 ft. Due to its limited distribution it is included on CNPS list 4.2. This perennial bunchgrass produces a tuft of stems 30 to 60 centimeters tall. The leaves are mostly located about the base of the stems. The flower cluster is a dense, narrow sheaf of spikelets up to 12 centimeters long. The fruit of each spikelet is tipped with a bent awn. Other species in this genus may look very similar, but they generally occur in distinct habitats. For example, the more common species C. canadensis is found in the Sierras. Despite its rarity in the wild, it is available from nurseries and is a useful ornamental grass, especially for north coast gardens.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 2 ft (0.3 - 0.6 m)

Max. Width
2 ft (0.6 m)


Flower Color

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Northern coastal scrub, evergreen forest, rocky outcrops, crevices, bluffs, cliffs, typically close to the coast

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
43' - 4102'

Annual Precip. ?
47.2" - 140.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.92" - 4.94"

Coldest Month ?
41.2° F - 48.4° F

Hottest Month ?
58.7° F - 66.2° F

Humidity ?
0.36 vpd - 14.71 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils as long as drainage is good

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0


Sunset Zones ?
4, 5*, 7, 14, 15*, 16*, 17*, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Max. Summer Water ?
2x/month, 3x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Leafy 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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