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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Northern Bentgrass - Agrostis mertensii
Other Names:  Agrostis borealis

Status Under Review

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3?
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 6

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Few collections from Montana. Probably undercollected due to small stature, demure appearance and difficulty of accessing its alpine habitat.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Northern Bentgrass (Agrostis mertensii) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date =
General Description
Perennial bunchgrass. Stems 10–40 cm. Leaves: blades 1–3 mm wide, ligules 1–3 mm long. Inflorescence 5–15 cm long, of narrow but open panicles. Spikelets 2.5–3 mm long. Lemmas 2.4–2.8 mm long, bearing a straight or bent awn, 2.5–3 mm long, from above the middle; palea absent or minute (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Fruiting in August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Among species of Agrostis that occur above timberline, including A. humilis and A. idahoensis, this is the only one with a narrow panicle and an awned lemma. A. scabra may also grow in alpine situations, but has an open panicle and paler spikelets. A hand lens or microscope and technical key are needed for positive identification.

Species Range

Range Comments
Throughout all of Canada, New England, and AK, south along the Rocky Mountains, and disjunct in central Appalachia (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist meadows above timberline.

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Citation for data on this website:
Northern Bentgrass — Agrostis mertensii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from