Piptatherum canadense
Canada rice grass
Image of Piptatherum canadense

Photo by William W. Brodovich 

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Key Characteristics

Loosely clumped grass of sandy, moist jack pine clearings; leaves bluish-green and very narrow, with strongly inrolled margins; inflorescence sparse and open, with solitary spikelets, each terminated by a stout curly awn.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G4G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Piptatherum canadense

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


This species is found especially in sandy, moist areas that have recently been cleared of their jack pine cover, often on the margins of small depressions or within large peatland complexes. Although primarily found in the Upper Peninsula, it can also occur in northern Lower Michigan.

Specific Habitat Needs

needed in Muskeg

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Leatherleaf, blueberry, hair-grass, goldthread, bunchberry, and poverty grass.


Canada rice-grass benefits from soil disturbance to create a moist, open, moderately acid substrate.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Jul 20, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

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