Plant Guide > Grasses > Blue Joint Grass

Blue Joint Grass


Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx.) Beauv.

Though that "bank where the wild thyme blows" be inaccessible, the country holds many a marshy meadow wherein all manner of delightful acquaintances may be made.

In such "marish places" grow pitcher-plants, dotting the swale with fairy parasols of rose and maroon, orchids, fragile and beautiful in pink and lavender, while treacherous sundews, plants of doom to the lesser members of the insect kingdom, are scattered among the sedges and rushes above which rise the taller grasses of moist grounds.

In June when the season is at its height - though in reality it is only appreciation that is more vivid in early summer, for each week brings new bloom and colour to the marsh - the Blue-joint often covers large areas, or appears in isolated specimens among the sedges.

This grass is tall and slender, bearing narrow flowering-heads which are usually strongly tinged with bluish purple, and on some soils the dark green leaves change to a dull purplish colour that is noticeable even from a distance.

The seeds ripen early, and in some localities the grass is a difficult one to find in bloom, as the flowers fade rapidly, leaving only pale-brown panicles of ripening seeds. Occasionally the whole panicle fails to mature, and then the spikelets remain empty and faded.

Blue-joint Grass. Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx.) Beauv.

Perennial.

Stem 2-5 ft. tall, erect. Ligule 1"-3" long. Leaves 6'-15' long, 1"4" wide, rough.

Panicle 4'-10' long, oblong, often reddish purple, branches ascending or spreading. Spikelets 1-flowered, 1 1/4"-2" long. Scales 3; outer scales nearly equal, acute, rough; flowering scale thin and translucent, divided at apex, surrounded by numerous white, silky hairs which rise from the base of the scale, flowering scale bearing a dorsal awn about the length of the basal hairs. Rachilla prolonged and hairy. Stamens 3.

Wet grounds. June to August.

Newfoundland to Alaska, south to North Carolina and southern California.