FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Deschampsia alpina, Alpine Hair-grass

Deschampsia alpina; the Alpine Hair-grass has leaves like the Tufted Hair-grass (D. cespitosa) and also has two flowers in each spikelet. However, the plant can easily be recognized by the viviparous nature of the spikelets (new plantlets grow from the spikelets). Other common grasses on Iceland showing vivipary are Poa alpina (Alpine Meadow-grass) and Festucus vivipara (Viviparous Sheep's-Fescue). The Alpine Hair-grass is generally larger than these grasses. It differs from Poa alpina in having rounder shaped glumes (not boat-shaped) and from Festuca vivipara by their broader basal leaves (filliform in F. vivipara). Other differences are mentioned on the pages of Poa alpina and Festucus vivipara.

The Alpine Hair-grass grows commonly on Iceland but prefers moist (stony) grounds and is thus missing in many sandy (vulcanic ash) localities. It also grows in grasslands.

The Alpine Hair-grass is a member of the grass family (Poaceae, also known as Gramineae). The Icelandic name of the Alpine Hair-grass is Fjallapuntur.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


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