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Calamagrostis stricta (Timm) Koel. ssp. inexpansa (Gray) C.W. Greene

Photo: Calamagrostis stricta ssp. inexpansa in native habitat

New England Northern Reed-grass

Habitat: Damp woods and shaded cliffs. [Rocky coastal (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Local, eastern Maine to northern Vermont.

Photo: Calamagrostis stricta ssp. inexpansa on specimen sheet

Aids to Identification: Identification of species of the genus Calamagrostis is usually difficult and dependent upon rather technical characters. They are all perennial grasses with long, narrow leaves, and 1-flowered spikelets with a tuft of hairs at the base of the lemma. This particular taxon is very similar to neglected reed-grass (C. stricta ssp. stricta). Both sub-species grow to 0.3-1 m in height, with condensed spike-like flower clusters, and spikelets 3-5 mm long. Subspecies inexpansa is characterized by very rough leaves; ligules 3-6 mm long with an erose apex.

Ecological characteristics: In Maine this species is known to occur on sparsely vegetated, rocky shorelines, as well as open ledges and outcrops in alpine settings.

Photo: close up of Calamagrostis stricta ssp. inexpansa on specimen sheet

Phenology: Fruits in mid-summer.

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Formerly known as Calamagrostis inexpansa Gray var. novae-angliae Stebbins, Calamagrostis fernaldii Louis-Marie, Calamagrostis inexpansa Gray. Subspecies not delimited in Gleason and Cronquist (Second ed., 1991).

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 5 town(s) in the following county(ies): Aroostook, Hancock, Piscataquis

Dates of documented observations are: 1941, 1953, 1979, 1986 (2), 1988, 1990, 1992, 2000 (2)

Reason(s) for rarity:Range is naturally limited

Conservation considerations: Populations could be threatened by heavy recreational (hiking) use.