Plant Guide > Grasses > Purple Oat Grass

Purple Oat Grass

Purple Oat GrassMelica striata ~ (Michx.) Hitchc.

A more northern species belonging to this genus is so like the Oat-grasses in appearance that it is commonly called Purple Oat, and in older botanies is given as Avena striata.

The scales are narrow, instead of broad as in the preceding species, and the flowering scale bears an awn as long as itself.

Blooming in midsummer, this grass prefers the dry soil of rocky hillsides, where fragrant pennyroyal and lifeeverlasting grow in the borderland surrounding woods of oak and chestnut.

The stems are slender, and the loosely flowered panicles of narrow, long spikelets are usually tinged with purple.

Purple Oat. Melica striata ~ (Michx.) Hitchc.


Stem 1-2 ft. tall, slender, erect. Ligule very short. Leaves 1'-7' long, 1"-3" wide.

Panicle 2'-6' long, few-flowered, branches slender. Spikelets 3-6-flowered, 8"-12" long, usually purple. Outer scales unequal, acute; flowering scales short-hairy at base, divided at apex and bearing a dorsal awn about 4"-5" long. Stamens 3.

In woods and on rocky hills in the shade. June to August.

New Brunswick to British Columbia, south to Pennsylvania.