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Danthonia californica

Danthonia californica Bol.

California Oatgrass, California Wild Oat Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Danthonia americana, Danthonia californica var. americana, Danthonia californica var. californica, Danthonia californica var. palousensis, Danthonia californica var. piperi

USDA Symbol: DACA3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

California Wild Oat Grass is a low, perennial bunchgrass, to 1-1/2 to 4 ft. tall, with dense tufts of fuzzy, dull-green leaves and half-decumbent flowering culms with nodding spikelets. This grass is not particularly conspicuous even in flower.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MA , MT , NM , NV , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC , SK
Native Distribution: Black Hills to MT & B.C., s. to CO, AZ & CA
Native Habitat: Meadows, open woods & dry hills below 5000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: A good, basic grass for the lowland meadow or rock garden. It withstands traffic and trampling.


Description: Sow seed.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Danthonia californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Danthonia californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Danthonia californica


Record Modified: 2023-01-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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