Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Tufted Hairgrass - Deschampsia cespitosa   (L.) Beauvois
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Deschampsia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
Author(L.) Beauvois
DistributionMountains; with a gap between Yancey and Clay counties.

A circumboreal species, with ssp. glauca ranging south to NC, KY, IL, and AZ.
AbundanceVery rare, with apparently just a single collection site in each county. Thankfully, the Clay County site (Buck Creek barrens) is in excellent condition. This is a State Threatened species.
HabitatRock outcrops or barrens over mafic or limey substrate -- very rare habitat conditions in NC.
See also Habitat Account for General Montane Basic Barrens and Glades
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-July.
IdentificationStems grow 2-4 feet tall from a tuft of slender and rather short, ascending to erect leaves. The inflorescence is terminal, open, with branches alternate, opposite, or whorled; it is conspicuously very pale to straw colored, in contrast to the green color of the stem and leaves. The spikelets have only 2 florets, as opposed to all of our Poa, Festuca, and Schedonorus taxa.
Taxonomic CommentsThe subspecies glauca is the only one found in NC.

Other Common Name(s)Tussock Grass (a name used for many species)
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State Status[T]
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieSame data. ClayPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieBuck Creek Serpentine Barren, June 2021. ClayPhoto_natural

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