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Photo: Oryzopsis canadensis

Oryzopsis canadensis (Pori.) Torr.

Canada Mountain-ricegrass

Habitat: Dry, sandy, rocky woods [Dry barrens (partly forested, uplands)]

Range: Newfoundland south to Maine, west to Minnesota and West Virginia, north to Alberta.

Aids to Identification: Oryzopsis species are tufted perennials recognized by their single spikelet with glumes as long as the spikelet in an open panicle. The florets are awned. Canada mountain-ricegrass has oblong, acute, and glabrous glumes slightly exceeding the pubescent lemma. The awn is 6-10 mm long and is twisted near the base. The leaves of Canada mountain-ricegrass are rounded (as opposed to flat in the more common O. asperifolia).

Photo: Oryzopsis canadensis

Ecological characteristics: Several sites are located in blueberry barrens.

Phenology: Fruits in June and July.

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Formerly known as Stipa canadensis Poir., Oryzopsis pungens (Torr.) Hitchc. Some newer treatments may refer to this species as Piptatherum canadense (Poir.) Dorn.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 16 towns in the following counties: Aroostook, Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Washington.

Dates of documented observations are: 1892, 1897, 1917, 1919, 1924, 1930, 1938, 1953, 1954, 1958, 2000 (4), 2001, 2002

Reason(s) for rarity: Unclear, some locations are located in blueberry barrens which are historically not popular botanizing sites.

Conservation considerations: Sites in blueberry barrens are exposed to periodic burning and herbicides; it is unknown how this has affected populations.