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Trisetum spicatum

Trisetum spicatum (L.) K. Richt.

Spike Trisetum, Narrow False Oat

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Aira spicata, Trisetum molle, Trisetum montanum, Trisetum montanum var. shearii, Trisetum spicatum ssp. alaskanum, Trisetum spicatum ssp. congdonii, Trisetum spicatum ssp. majus, Trisetum spicatum ssp. molle, Trisetum spicatum ssp. montanum, Trisetum spicatum ssp. pilosiglume, Trisetum spicatum var. alaskanum, Trisetum spicatum var. congdonii, Trisetum spicatum var. maidenii, Trisetum spicatum var. majus, Trisetum spicatum var. molle, Trisetum spicatum var. pilosiglume, Trisetum spicatum var. spicatiforme, Trisetum spicatum var. villosissimum, Trisetum subspicatum, Trisetum triflorum, Trisetum triflorum ssp. molle, Trisetum villosissimum

USDA Symbol: trsp2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

Spike Trisetum is a member of the grass family (family Poaceae). Grasses are herbs, rarely woody, with cylindrical, jointed flowering stems (culms), hollow between the joints, leaves often mostly basal and tiny flowers aggregated into highly modified clusters. This very important family, consisting of about 525 genera and 5000 species, provides much of the food used by humans, as well as fodder for livestock. Grasses occur throughout the world in almost every habitat, with the greatest diversity of species found in the tropical zone, and the greatest abundance in the temperate regions.


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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, often shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , ID , MA , ME , MI , MN , MT , NC , NH , NM , NV , NY , OR , PA , RI , SD , TN , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: NB , NL , NS
Native Distribution: Arctic America, s. to PA, NC & TN mts., n. MI, MN & mts. to NM & CA
Native Habitat: Alpine meadows & slopes, descending to lower plains & lakeshores in northern regions

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, gravelly soil.
Conditions Comments: Several varieties have been proposed for this species. The most outstanding is var. molle with densely pubscent foliage.


Description: Seed collected from low altitude plants germinated slower that that of high altitude plants, but at higher temperature. Germination of high altitude seed is stimulated by light and stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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.

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-12-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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