Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
GRASS FAMILY (Gramineae or Poaceae)
IND. STATUS: OBL
FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A perennial grass 50-150 cm. high. Many very slender stems arise from small rhizomes. The sheaths are usually hairless. The slender leaves (2-4 mm. wide) tend to be flat. A distinct, thin, dry, papery structure extends beyond the summit of the sheath (the ligule). Nodes often have a blue to reddish- purple color. The inflorescence is somewhat nodding, open or fairly dense, and branched with stalked spikelets; the branches often bent in one direction, giving the inflorescence a flag-like appearance. The membrane-like lemmas range from three- quarters to as long as the glumes. A single, short, delicate, and straight awn arises from or near the middle of the lemma. Also, a tuft of hair (use a 10-15X lens) is present at the base of each lemma, making the spikelets look slightly fuzzy (see drawing).
| Figure 23 - Canada bluejoint grass
Illustration is from Hitchcock (1950).
ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Canada bluejoint grass commonly occurs as a subdominant in sedge meadows, and is the most frequent grass associate of the sedges. It may occur as a dominant in wet to wet-mesic prairies and fresh (wet) meadows and is frequently present in shallow marshes and shrub-carrs. This grass stands up well in winter making it a good source of food and cover for wildlife.
SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).