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Calamagrostis canadensis
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Supertribe: Poodae
Tribe: Poeae
Subtribe: Agrostidinae
Genus: Calamagrostis
Type species
Calamagrostis epigejos
  • × Ammocalamagrostis P.Fourn.
  • Ancistrochloa Honda
  • Anisachne Keng
  • Athernotus Dulac
  • Cinnagrostis Griseb.
  • Chamaecalamus Meyen
  • Deyeuxia Clarion ex P.Beauv.
  • Sclerodeyeuxia Pilg.
  • Stilpnophleum Nevski
  • Stylagrostis Mez

Calamagrostis (reed grass or smallweed[3]) is a genus of flowering plants in the grass family Poaceae, with about 260 species[4] that occur mainly in temperate regions of the globe. Towards equatorial latitudes, species of Calamagrostis generally occur at higher elevations. These tufted perennials usually have hairless narrow leaves. The ligules are usually blunt. The inflorescence forms a panicle. Some may be reed-like.

The plants may be rhizomatous (underground stems with shoots), stoloniferous (with runners), or caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps). The bisexual spikelets have a single floret and generally they are purple or purple-brown. The spikelets are clustered into inflorescences, which usually develop in early- to mid-summer on long culms ( = stems).

Many species of Calamagrostis are morphologically similar, but they generally occur in distinct habitats, and they have unique geographical distributions. Given the subtle distinctions between many closely related taxa, there are several species complexes that could benefit from additional systematic study. Even the generic boundaries of the genus are controversial. For example, species in the genus Deyeuxia, distributed largely in the southern hemisphere are morphologically very similar to species of Calamagrostis. It may be appropriate to recognize all of these species in a single genus, but this will require detailed scientific study of DNA of species from around the world.

Some Calamagrostis can be very decorative, and are widely cultivated largely in northern temperate zones. The species Calamagrostis brachytricha[5] and the cultivar Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'[6] are recipients of the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

The word "Calamagrostis" is derived from the Greek word kalamos (reed) and agrostis (a kind of grass).


Calamagrostis contains the following recognised species:[7]


  1. ^ S. W. L. Jacobs (2001). "The genus Lachnagrostis (Gramineae) in Australia" (PDF). Telopea. 9 (3): 439–448. doi:10.7751/telopea20024001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-04.
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ Tim Newbury Garden Design Bible: 40 great off-the-peg designs – Detailed planting plans, p. 104, at Google Books
  4. ^ GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora
  5. ^ "Calamagrostis brachytricha". RHS. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'". RHS. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Calamagrostis". The Plant List. Retrieved November 29, 2014.

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