Coastal tufted hair grass - Meadow barley - California oatgrass meadow
USDA Ecological Section Map
- Primary Life FormHerb
- Elevation0-1500 m
- State RarityS3
- Global RarityGNR
- DistributionCAN: BC. USA: CA, OR, WA (NatureServe)
- Endemic to CaliforniaNo
- Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
- Date Added2020/01/31
- Deschampsia caespitosa > 50% relative cover in the herbaceous layer; Baccharis pilularis ≤ 20% absolute cover, and no taller than the tallest grasses (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003a).
- Deschampsia cespitosa, Iris douglasiana, and/or Eryngium armatum has > 30% relative cover with other wet meadow herbs; if Holcus lanatus has highest cover, these native species may have as low as 10% combined cover (Buck-Diaz et al. 2021).
- Hordeum brachyantherum > 30% relative cover in the herbaceous layer (Buck-Diaz et al. 2021, Evens and Kentner 2006).
- Hordeum brachyantherum is characteristically present, usually with other wetland plants that may be at high cover (Klein et al. 2007).
- Deschampsia cespitosa, Danthonia californica, Iris douglasiana, and/or Eryngium armatum > 30% relative cover individually or share > 50% relative cover in the herbaceous layer (Buck-Diaz et al. 2021, Sikes et al. 2021).
Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings
|MCV (1995)||Tufted hair grass series|
|NVCS (2009)||Deschampsia caespitosa saturated herbaceous alliance, Deschampsia caespitosa seasonally flooded herbaceous alliance, Deschampsia caespitosa temporarily flooded herbaceous alliance, Deschampsia caespitosa tidal herbaceous alliance, Hordeum brachyantherum temporarily flooded herbaceous alliance|
|Calveg||Wet grasses and forbs|
|Holland||Coastal terrace prairie, Freshwater seep, Freshwater marsh, Coastal and valley freshwater marsh|
|Munz||Coastal prairie, Freshwater marsh|
|WHR||Fresh emergent wetland, Perennial grassland, Wet meadow|
|CDFW CA Code||41.221.00|
National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy
|Formation Class||Mesomorphic Shrub and Herb Vegetation (Shrubland and Grassland)|
|Formation Subclass||Temperate and Boreal Shrubland and Grassland|
|Formation||Temperate and Boreal Freshwater Marsh|
|Division||Western North American Freshwater Marsh|
|Macro Group||Western North American Freshwater Marsh|
|Group||Vancouverian coastal/tidal marsh and meadow|
Hordeum brachyantherum is a loosely to densely tufted grass with culms to 1 m tall. The species occurs in temperate Eurasia and North America. It involves two subspecies; the larger is H. brachyantherum ssp. brachyantherum , which is widespread. A less robust subspecies is H. brachyantherum ssp. californicum , which grows below 500 m only in California on and off serpentine (Von Bothmer et al. 2007). We include both forms in this alliance.
Deschampsia cespitosa is a complex circumpolar species with three subspecies (ssp. beringensis, ssp. cespitosa, ssp. holciformis) reported from California (Hickman 1993). Together they encompass stands ranging from sea level to alpine elevations. We now consider the treatment of two alliances for D. cespitosa , separating the coastal and lowland stands from those in higher-elevation mountain meadows. Stands along the coast and at lower elevations occur in moist, maritime climates on soils with high moisture-holding capacity or on perched water tables, whereby the associations included in this alliance have a lush growth of Deschampsia cespitosa, Danthonia californica, Hordeum brachyantherum, and other perennial herbs (NatureServe 2020).
Similar to D. cespitosa, H. brachyantherum has a broad temperature tolerance, enabling stands to exist adjacent to a divergent array of wetland alliances. Directly along the coast, associations of this alliance interdigitate on a fine scale with herbaceous stands of the Calamagrostis nutkaensis, Festuca idahoensis - Danthonia californica, Carex obnupta, and Juncus spp. alliances; and woody stands of Baccharis pilularis, Pinus muricata and Pseudotsuga menziesii alliances; and non-native types. Typical associated herbs include Eleocharis macrostachya, Juncus balticus, and J. nevadensis.
Stands of Deschampsia cespitosa, Danthonia californica, Hordeum brachyantherum, in montane meadows fall under the Danthonia californica - Deschampsia cespitosa - Camassia quamash Alliance.
Life History Traits of the Principal Species
|Deschampsia cespitosa||Hordeum brachyantherum|
|Life forms||Polycarpic perennial; herb||Polycarpic perennial; herb|
|Mode of dispersal||Water/hydrological||Animal; gravity; wind|
|Germination agents||Stratification—winter; none (light)||None|
|Mode of sprouting||Underground structures (root crown)||Underground structures; rhizomes|
|Survivability after fire/disturbance||Fire-hardy||Fire-hardy; high sprouter|
|Reproductive range||2 to ? years||Life of plant|
|Fire return interval||Short to medium (5 to 100 years)|
|Seasonality||Late summer-early fall|
|Complexity||Low to moderate|
|Severity||Low to high|
Deschampsia cespitosa stands that fit under this alliance are found in the Northern California Coast Ranges (M261B) as well as most low elevation sections throughout the state. Stands of Hordeum brachyantherum are found in all sections of the state, except the Colorado Desert (322C), Mojave Desert (322A), and Sonoran Desert (322B), although only the low-land and coastal stands fit this alliance.
- Central California Coast (261Aa, Ac-f, Ah-l). Stands occur along coastal bluffs and terraces as far south as the vicinity of Cambria and the Hearst Ranch (Stromberg et al. 2001). Ford and Hayes (2007) describe moist native perennial grassland and prairies types from San Luis Obispo to Mendocino Cos. with Deschampsia cespitosa, Danthonia californica, H. brachyantherum, Juncus phaeocephalus, and various sedges.
- Central California Coast Ranges (M262Aa). Evens and San (2004) recognized an association of the Cirsium fontinale alliance in which H. brachyantherum was a significant component. The association occurs in serpentine seeps in the Coyote Ridge area of Santa Clara Co.
- Great Valley (262Al). Narrow tidally influenced H. brachyantherum stands occur adjacent to the brackish estuaries of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta (Hickson and Keeler-Wolf 2007). These stands exist on peat and usually occur immediately adjacent to water, backed by Schoenoplectus californicus stands.
- Northern California Coast (263Aa-m). Stands exist at Point Reyes National Seashore (Elliott and Wehausen 1974, Heady et al. 1977, Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003a, CNDDB 2003), on dunes (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b), and along the uppermost edge of salt marshes at Humboldt Bay National Refuge (Pickart 2006) and around Humboldt Bay north of Eureka. Stands occur in Mendocino Co. at MacKerricher State Park, Navarro Point Preserve, and in Sonoma Co. at Salt Point State Park (CNPS unpublished data 2020). Samples with H. brachyantherum dominance at Point Reyes National Seashore occur in bottomlands adjacent to Carex obnupta and Rubus spectabilis stands (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003a). Other stands (Evens and Kentner 2006) were on Marin Municipal Watershed lands in Marin Co.
- Northern California Coast Ranges (M261Bb, Bf). Stands of H. brachyantherum observed in Marin, Napa, and Lake Cos. are associated with wet meadows and serpentine seeps.
- Southern California Coast (261Bc, Bh). Grassland stands on the Channel Islands include stands of H. brachyantherum with abundant non-native Avena and Bromus species present (Junak et al. 2007).
- Deschampsia cespitosa - Anthoxanthum odoratum 
- Deschampsia cespitosa - Danthonia californica , , , 
- Deschampsia cespitosa - Eryngium armatum , , , 
- Deschampsia (cespitosa, holciformis) 
- Deschampsia cespitosa - Horkelia marinensis , 
- Deschampsia cespitosa - Iris douglasiana 
- Deschampsia cespitosa - Lilaeopsis masonii , 
- Deschampsia cespitosa / Rosa nutkana , 
- Hordeum brachyantherum Lowland , , , , , , , 
-  Buck-Diaz, J.;Sikes, K.;Evens, J.M. 2021
-  Heady, H.F.;Foin, T.C.;Hektner, M.M.;Taylor, D.W.;Barbour, M.G.;Barry, W.J. 1977
-  Hickson, D.;Keeler-Wolf, T. 2007
-  Keeler-Wolf, T .;Schirokauer, D.;Meinke, J.;van derLeeden, P. 2003a
-  Rodriguez, D.;Sikes, K.;Keeler-Wolf, T.;Kittel, G.;Curtis, J.;Curley, C.;Evens, J. 2017
-  Buck-Diaz, J.;Harbert, B.;Evens, J. 2011
-  Kittel, G.;Reyes, E.;Evens, J.;Buck, J.;Johnson, D. 2012
-  Buck-Diaz, J.;Ratchford, J.;Evens, J. 2013
-  Buck-Diaz, J.;Batiuk, S.;Evens, J.M. 2012
-  Klein, A.;Keeler-Wolf, T.;Evens, J. 2015
-  Buck-Diaz, J.;Sikes, K.;Evens, J.M. 2020
-  Sikes, K.;Buck-Diaz, J.;Evens, J. 2021
- Evens, J.M.;Kentner, E. 2006
- Ford, L.;Hayes, G. 2007
- Hickman, J.C. 1993
- Walsh, R.A. 1995a