USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Calamagrostis canadensis (Michaux) Beauv.)

Canada bluejoint grass

GRASS FAMILY (Gramineae or Poaceae)


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).

Canada bluejoint grass and spikelet
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).

Previous Section -- Woolly Sedge (Carex lanuginosa Michx.)
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth)

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 06:30:57 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]