Vahlodea atropurpurea (Wahlenb.) Fries ex Hartman

Mountain Hairgrass

Habitat: Cold bogs, meadows, wet rocks [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Circumboreal, south to mountains of Maine and New Hampshire, west to Colorado.

Aids to Identification: Hairgrasses (genera Vahlodea and Deschampsia) in Maine are recognized by their 2 florets per spikelet, a hairy rachilla, glumes nearly equal in length, and lemmas with an awn that is attached near the base of the lemma. Mountain hairgrass differs from members of the genus Deschampsia by having glumes that are much longer than the florets, no tufts of basal leaves, and an awn that is attached near the middle of the lemma.

Ecological characteristics: Found in the alpine areas of Mt. Katahdin.

Phenology: Flowering and fruiting July and August.

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Aira atropurpurea Wahlenb.; Deschampsia atropurpurea (Wahlenb) Scheele.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 2 towns in the following counties: Franklin, Piscataquis.

Reason(s) for rarity: At southern edge of range, habitat is scarce.

Conservation considerations: The population is in a remote area not easily accessible by hikers.