California's Native Grasses, and the new species that must be described out the old taxonomic species. By Craig Dremann

Box 361, Redwood City, California, 94064 USA - (650) 325-7333

Copyright © 2004 - Taxonomy based on the Jepson Manual (1993), and chromosome numbers, except in italics.

+ Plus sign notes where multiple species are under the same species name. Most of the California grass species was named based on physical characters, usually in the 1800s, when genetics was unknown, and there are more than one species included under these botanical names, based on chromosome counts. The number of new species that must be teased out of each multiple-chromosome taxonomic species is noted.

Since 59 of the California native grasses are missing their chromosome numbers so far, when these species are looked at in the future, multiple chromosome issues may appear in these genetically forgotten grasses.

Ultimately once genetics is coupled with taxomony, California may go from about 300 native grass species to 500-600 or more. Dr. Stebbins and I wrote the article listed below to serve as a treasure-hunt for future scientific genetic and taxonomic explorations.

# = Means no chromosome counts listed for that species in 1993 Jepson.

Reference: Stebbins, G. Ledyard and Craig C. Dremann. 1998. Jepson Manual chromosome numbers may indicate new "cryptic" native grass species. GRASSLANDS (Davis, California, publication of the California Native Grass Association) 8 (3): 4-5.

Achnatherum aridum #
Achnatherum coronatum #
Achnatherum diegoensis #
Achnatherum hymenoides +1
Achnatherum latiglumis
Achnatherum lemmonii +1
Achnatherum lettermanii
Achnatherum nelsonii +1
Achnatherum nevadensis
Achnatherum occidentalis
Achnatherum occidentalis ssp. californicum
Achnatherum occidentalis ssp. occidentalis
Achnatherum occidentalis spp. pubescens
Achnatherum parishii #
Achnatherum pinetorum
Achnatherum speciosum +2
Achnatherum stillmanii #
Achnatherum thurberianum
Achnatherum webberi

Agrostis blasdalei
Agrostis densiflora
Agrostis elliottiana
Agrostis exarata +2
Agrostis hallii #
Agrostis hendersonii
Agrostis hooveri #
Agrostis humilis #
Agrostis idahoensis #
Agrostis microphylla #
Agrostis oregonensis #
Agrostis pallens +1
Agrostis scabra
Agrostis thurberiana
Agrostis variabilis #

Alopecurus aequalis
Alopecurus carolinianus
Alopecurus geniculatus #

Andropogon glomeratus +1

Aristida adscensionis
Aristida californica var. californica
Aristida divaricata
Aristida oligantha
Aristida purpurea var. fendleriana +1
Aristida purpurea var. longiseta +3
Aristida purpurea var. nealleyi +1
Aristida purpurea var. parishii #
Aristida purpurea var. purpurea +3
Aristida purpurea var. wrightii +2
Aristida ternipes va. hamulosa

Beckmannia syzigachne

Blepharidachne kingii

Bothriochloa barbinodis

Bouteloua aristoides var. aristioides
Bouteloua barbata var. barbara +1
Bouteloua curtipendula +3 or more
Bouteloua eriopoda +2
Bouteloua gracilis +9
Bouteloua trifida +1

Bromus anomalus
Bromus arizonicus
Bromus breviaristatus #
Bromus carinatus
Bromus ciliatus +1
Bromus grandis
Bromus laevipes
Bromus marginatus
Bromus maritimus
Bromus orcuttianus #
Bromus polyanthus #
Bromus suksdorfii
Bromus vulgaris #

Calamagrostis bolanderi
Calamagrostis breweri +1
Calamagrostis canadensis +1 or more
Calamagrostis foliosa
Calamagrostis koelerioides
Calamagrostis nutkaensis
Calamagrostis ophiditis
Calamagrostis purpurascens +3 or more
Calamagrostis rubescens +2
Calamagrostis stricta var. inexpansa +5 or more
Calamagrostis stricta var. stricta +3

Cinna bolanderi #
Cinna latifolia

Danthonia californica var. americana
Danthonia californica var. californica
Danthonia intermedia +1
Danthonia unispicata

Deschampsia atropurpurea
Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. caespitosa +1?
Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. holciformis +1?
Deschampsia dathonioides
Deschampsia elongata

Dissanthelium californicum #

Distichlis spicata

Elymus arizonicus #
Elymus californicus
Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius #
Elymus elymoides ssp. californicus
Elymus elymoides ssp. elymoides
Elymus elymoides ssp. hordeoides
Elymus glaucus ssp. glaucus
Elymus glaucus ssp. jepsonii
Elymus glaucus ssp. virescens
Elymus lanceolatus
Elymus multisetus #
Elymus scribneri
Elymus sierrae
Elymus stebbinsii
Elymus trachycaulus ssp. subsecundus
Elymus trachycaulus ssp. trachycaulus

Enneapogon desvauxii

Eragrostis hypnoides
Eragrostis lutescens #
Eragrostis mexicana ssp. mexicana
Eragrostis mexicana ssp. virescens #
Eragrostis pectinacea var. miserrima #
Eragrostis pectinacea var. pectinacea #
Eragrostis pilosa var. pilosa #

Eriochloa acuminata var. acuminata #
Eriochloa acuminata var. aristata #

Erioneuron pilosum
Erioneuron pulchellum #

Festuca brachyphylla #
Festuca californica
Festuca elmeri #
Festuca idahoensis
Festuca kingii
Festuca minutiflora
Festuca occidentalis +5
Festuca rubra +5
Festuca saximontana var. purpusiana #
Festuca subulata +1
Festuca subuliflora
Festuca viridula

Glyceria borealis
Glyceria elata
Glyceria grandis
Glyceria leptostachya
Glyceria occidentalis
Glyceria striata

Hesperostipa comata ssp. comata +2
Hesperostipa comata ssp. intermedia +1

Heteropogon contortus

Hierochloe occidentalis
Hierochloe odorata +2

Hordeum arizonicum
Hordeum brachyantherum ssp. brachyantherum +1
Hordeum brachyantherum ssp. californicum #
Hordeum depressum
Hordeum intercedens #
Hordeum jubatum #

Imperata brevifolia #

Koeleria macrantha

Leersia oryzoides

Leymus cinereus +1
Leymus condensatus +1
Leymus mollis
Leymus X multiflorus
Leymus pacificus
Leymus salinus #
Leymus triticoides (suspect multiples here)
Leymus vancouverensis

Lycurus phleoides var. phleoides

Melica aristata
Melica bulbosa
Melica californica
Melica frutescens
Melica fugax
Melica geyeri
Melica harfordii
Melica imperfecta
Melica spectabilis #
Melica stricta
Melica subulata
Melica torreyana

Monathochloe littoralis #

Muhlenbergia andina
Muhlenbergia appressa #
Muhlenbergia arsenei #
Muhlenbergia asperifolia +2
Muhlenbergia californica +maybe more here.
Muhlenbergia filiformis
Muhlenbergia fragilis
Muhlenbergia jonesii
Muhlenbergia mexicana
Muhlenbergia microsperma +2
Muhlenbergia minutissima +1
Muhlenbergia montana +1
Muhlenbergia pauciflora #
Muhlenbergia porteri +3
Muhlenbergia richardsonis
Muhlenbergia rigens
Muhlenbergia utilis

Munroa squarrosa

Nassella cernua
Nassella lepida
Nassella pulchra

Neostapfia colusana

Orcuttia californica
Orcuttia inequalis #
Orcuttia pilosa #
Orcuttia tenuis
Orcuttia viscida #

Panicum acuminatum var. acuminatum #
Panicum acuminatum var. lindheimeri #
Panicum capillare
Panicum hirticaule #
Panicum oligosanthes var. scribnrtianum
Panicum urvilleanum#

Pascopyrum smithii

Paspalum distichum +1

Pharlaris angusta
Pharlaris arundinacea +4 or more
Pharlaris californica
Pharlaris lemmonii

Phleum alpinum +1

Phragmites australis +9

Piptatherum micranthum

Pleuraphis jamesii +3
Pleuraphis rigida +2 or more

Pleuropogon californicus
Pleuropogon hooverianus
Pleuropogon refractus

Poa atropurpurea
Poa bigelovii
Poa bolanderi
Poa confinis
Poa cusickii ssp. cusickii
Poa cusickii ssp. epilis
Poa cusickii ssp. pallida +1 (may be a counting error)
Poa cusickii ssp. purpurescens
Poa douglasii
Poa fendleriana ssp. longiligula
Poa glaucua ssp. rupicola +1 or more
Poa howellii #
Poa keckii #
Poa kelloggii
Poa leptocoma
Poa lettermanii
Poa macrantha
Poa napensis
Poa pattersonii +1
Poa piperi
Poa pringlei #
Poa rhizomata
Poa secunda ssp. juncifolia
Poa secunda ssp. secunda +maybe 15-30? Dr. Alan Beetle intrigued by this one.
Poa sierrae #
Poa stebbinsii +1
Poa tenerrima
Poa unilateralis #
Poa wheeleri +3 or more

Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp. spicata #

Ptilagrostis kingii

Puccinellia howellii #
Puccinellia lemmonii
Puccinellia nutkaensis +1
Puccinellia nuttaliana +2
Puccinellia parishii
Puccinellia pumila +1
Puccinellia simplex

Scleropogon brevifolius

Scribneria bolanderi

Setaria gracilis #

Spartina foliosa
Spartina gracilis +1

Sphenopholis obtusata

Sporobolus airoides +3
Sporobolus contractus
Sporobolus cryptandrus +3
Sporobolus flexuosus +1 (may be a miscount)

Swallenia alexandrae

Torreyochloa erecta
Torreyochloa pallida

Tridens muticus

Trisetum canescens +1
Trisetum cernuum
Trisetum spicatum +2
Trisetum wolfii #

Tuctoria greenei
Tuctoria mucronata

Vulpia microstachys var. ciliata
Vulpia microstachys var. confus
Vulpia microstachys var. microstachys
Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora
Vulpia octoflora var. hirtella
Vulpia pctpflora var. octoflora

Updated May 18, 2016. Back to Craig Dremann's main Contents page