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Forked Three Awned Grass

Parks Canada

Aristida basiramea

Species at Risk Status

Federal Government status: Endangered

Provincial Government status: Endangered


  • Can be challenging to identify, this annual plant grows 30 to 50 cm tall. It is branched at the base and grows in tufts or dense clumps.
  • Stems are wiry and often rough; the leaves are 5 to 15 cm long and less than 1 mm wide. The “awns” referred to in its name are bristle-like structures attached to the bract (specialized leaf) that encloses the flower of the grass.
  • Inconspicuous flowers appear in August and continue into October.
  • Seeds are dispersed by wind and animals.


  • Sand barrens


  • Impacted by cottage/recreation development, extraction of sand, and by all-terrain vehicles.
  • Planting of conifers, especially scot’s pine Pinus sylvestris, may out-compete forked three awned grass in some areas.

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