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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Purple Oat - Schizachne purpurascens

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Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SU

Agency Status


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General Description
Cool season, perennial bunchgrass. Stems loosely bunched and connected by short rhizomes, 30–80 cm. Leaves: blades 2–5 mm wide, often flat and lax; ligule 1-1.5 mm long; sheaths with fused margins. Inflorescence an open panicle 7–13 cm long, branches in pairs or single, drooping, bearing 1 or 2 spikelets. Spikelets 11–16 mm long, with 4 to 5 florets; glumes with mostly 3 to 5 faint veins. Lemmas 8–12 mm long with 7 prominent veins and hairs on callus about one-quarter the length of lemma, awned from between two apical teeth, the awn 9–15 mm long; palea enclosed in floret. Disarticulation above glumes; unit of dispersal the floret (Lavin in Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)..

Species Range

Range Comments
Throughout the Rocky Mountain region and the northern latitudes of North America (Lavin in Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 41

(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)


  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Johnson, T. W. 1982. An analysis of pack and saddle stock grazing areas in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. M.Sc.Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 105 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Purple Oat"
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Citation for data on this website:
Purple Oat — Schizachne purpurascens.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from