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Phleum alpinum L.

Mountain Timothy

Habitat: Meadows, damp shores and slopes. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland); Non-tidal rivershore (non-forested, seasonally wet)]

Range: Labrador to Alaska, south to the mountains of New Hampshire, Vermont, Arizona, and California. Also in northern Europe, Asia, and in Patagonia.

Aids to Identification: Mountain timothy is a grass closely related to the common timothy often seen in hayfields. Like the common timothy, mountain timothy has a dense, cylindric flower head made up of closely packed florets. However, mountain timothy stands only about 50 cm high, the flower head is rather short and broad, usually only about 2-3 cm long, and the awns of the glumes are 1.5-3 mm long. Common timothy has shorter awns (0.7-1.5 mm) on the glumes.

Ecological characteristics: In Maine, this plant is found along the shores of northern Maine rivers and in alpine areas of Mt. Katahdin.

Phenology: Flowers in the summer.

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Phleum commutatum Gaudin var. americanum (Fourn.) Hultn

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 8 town(s) in the following county(ies): Aroostook, Piscataquis.

Dates of documented observations are: 1917, 1985, 1995, 1997 (5), 1999 (4), 2000 (3), 2001 (7)

Reason(s) for rarity: At southern limit of its range; habitat naturally scarce.

Conservation considerations: Maintain hydrologic integrity of its rivershore habitat, including natural disturbance by water and ice. Known populations are small and subject to the vagaries of small populations such as random fluctuations or localized disturbance events. Populations could be harmed if all-terrain vehicle use of its habitat increases.