Poaceae (Grass Family)

Grasses are, well, grasses. With the exception of Bamboo, they all look like grass, and their identifying characteristics would require a whole WebSite to themselves. The are over 200 identified species in the Bay Area, and at least 30 on Montara Mountain. And a good number of these are alien species. Nearby Urban Development, farming and ranching introduced many non-native grasses to the mountain. Some are benign, some are ferocious in taking over native grasslands.

To keep things manageable, we will only list a few of the most common grasses found on Montara Mountain:

Avena barbata / A. fatua
Slender Wild Oats / Wild Oats

Briza maxima / B. minor
Rattlesnake Grass / Little Rattlesnake Grass

Calamagrostis nutkaensis
Pacific Reed Grass

Cortaderia jubata
Pampas Grass

Cynosurus echinatus
Hedgehog Dogtail

Polypogon monspeliensis
Annual Beard Grass



Cynosurus echinatus:
Hedgehog Dogtail

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Flowers: Inflorescence along top of stem, somewhat one-sided, green drying to brown; individual florets above long bristle

Blooms: June - August.

Leaves: Less than 2 cm wide from base of plant.

Fruit/Seeds: Developing from shorter bristles - small, oblong tan seeds.

Location: Along trails throughout lower elevations.

Status: Alien - Invasive.

Further description & Comment: 6 to 18 inches tall, growing in colonies.

Dogtail has been spreading slowly over the last few years, although it doesn't currently present a problem as it is confined to the immediate areas along roads and trails.

Cynosurus echinatus

450x600 JPEG - 48K



Polypogon monspeliensis:
Annual Beard Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Flowers: Inflorescence atop stem, about 4 times long as wide; bushy in appearance and to the touch from soft awns (hair-like projections at the tip of floret bracts) less than 2mm; inflorescence more than 15mm (3/8 inch) long; bright green drying to gray-white.

Blooms: June - September.

Leaves: Thin leaf blades 3 to 8 mm wide at base and along stem.

Fruit/Seeds: ??

Location: Along trails at elevations up to 1000 ft.

Status: Alien - Invasive.

Polypogon monspeliensis
450x600 JPEG - 40K

Further description & Comment: 4 to 8 inches tall. growing in dense colonies.

Beard Grass is a photographer's favorite because of the way the soft floret hairs catch the morning or late afternoon sun.


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