Species Factsheets

Trisetum spicatum

Narrow False Oats

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State Status: N
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S1

Trisetum spicatum


Narrow False Oats is a perennial grass that may grow to 0.5 m in height. The leaves are alternately arranged, consisting of a basal sheath portion that envelopes the stem and a linear-shaped, flattened, and untoothed blade that is 5-13 cm in length, to 6 mm in width, and pointed at the tip. The minute flowers, appearing in late spring and summer, occur in a dense and relatively narrow inflorescence that may reach 10 cm in length. The inflorescence contains many individual flower-bearing spikelets that average about 6 mm in length. Individual spikelets contain two tiny flowers, each of which has an associated hair-like projection, or awn, that extends outside the spikelet.

Rank Justification

Critically imperiled in the nation or state because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state.


The species grows on rock outcrops and cliffs.

Survey Dates

Flowers June - July


Narrow False Oats has a transcontinental range across the cooler regions of North America. In Pennsylvania, it has been documented historically in only a few counties.



The single population that is currently documented in the state appears to have the necessary protection to allow the species to thrive. Additional field surveys are needed to attempt to discover additional populations.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.

  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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