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Melica imperfecta (Smallflower melic grass)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Melica imperfecta

Melica imperfecta Trin.

Smallflower Melic Grass, Coast Range Melic Grass, Smallflower Melic, Coast Range Melic, Oniongrass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Melica imperfecta var. flexuosa, Melica imperfecta var. minor, Melica imperfecta var. refracta


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A dense to loose bunchgrass with bright-green leaves and flowering culms to 4 ft. in height. Spikelets are mostly borne in narrow (sometimes open) panicles and are purplish.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

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

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


Native Distribution: C. & s. CA
Native Habitat: Dry, open, often rocky slopes below 4000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Rocky soils.


Description: Sow seeds in fall.
Seed Treatment: No treatment 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.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Groundcover for erosion control
September 23, 2008
I live in southern california. What is the best groundcover to plant on a slope to prevent erosion?
view the full question and answer

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


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

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

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-01-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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