Koeleria macrantha

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Koeleria macrantha
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Common Names: Koeler's prairie grass, prairie junegrass
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Koeleria cristata, Koeleria gracilis, Koeleria nitida, Koeleria yukonensis
  • Codon: KOEMAC

Photo by Craig Althen, 2015, also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Lilianae
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Koeleria Pers.
Species: Koeleria macrantha (Ledeb.) Schult.
  • Koeleria nitida Nutt.
  • Koeleria gracilis Pers.
  • Koeleria yukonensis Hultén
  • Koeleria cristata var. longifolia Vasey ex Burtt Davy
  • Koeleria cristata var. pinetorum Abrams
  • Koeleria idahoensis Domin



Native, perennial, cool season bunchgrass.[2]

Leaf sheaths are open, leaves are 1-2mm broad, and basally tufted.

Culms are 3-6 dm tall, topped with fluffy-appearing, congested inflorescences (4-13cm.) which form a spike-like panicle.

The spikelets are mostly 2-flowered and are borne on short pedicels with paleas shorter than the lemmas[3]

Bloom Period

May - June[3]


Alaska south, on both sides of Cascades, to northern Mexico, east across most of North America to Atlantic.[4]


Dry, sandy prairies; open woods; rocky slopes Dry, well-drained soils such as silts to loams to sandy loams. It has good tolerance to fire.[2]


Prairie junegrass is used as a component of native seed mixtures in revegetation of mined lands, heavy use areas and other surface disturbed lands.Prairie Junegrass acts as a early- seral species of previously water-stressed areas.[5]

Medium palatable for browsing animals and high palatability for grazing animals. Prairie junegrass is considered a fair to good forage for elk throughout the year and is desirable forage for deer and antelope in the spring and early summer.[2]

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  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=503284
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ogle, Daniel G. 2012. Plant fact sheet for prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha). USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Boise, ID
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bowcutt, F., & Hamman, Sarah. (2016). Vascular plants of the South Sound prairies (First ed.). Olympia, Washington: The Evergreen State College Press.
  4. Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  5. Simonin, Kevin. 2000. Koeleria macrantha. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/junroe/all.html [2020, June 9].