Northern Bentgrass - Agrostis mertensii
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.
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.
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.
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:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Moist meadows above timberline.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Lackschewitz, K. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 648 pp.
- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.