Scientific Name Common Name Global Rank State Rank Federal Status WI Status

Sand Reedgrass (Calamovilfa longifolia var. magna)







Photo by Hugh Iltis


Counties with Mapped NHI Occurrences

Sand Reedgrass (Calamovilfa longifolia var. magna), a Wisconsin Threatened plant, is found on Lake Michigan sand dunes. Blooming occurs early-July through late-September, fruiting early-August through late-September. The optimal identification period for this species is early-July through September.


Sand reedgrass is a large grass with a panicle 15-35 cm long, open, and spreading, a floral spike 15-70cm long, 1.3 to 6 times as long as wide, often broader than in other similar species. Spikelets are pale, 6-7mm long, glumes acuminate, the first ~2mm shorter than the second. Lemma are somewhat shorter than the second glume, glabrous, the callus hairs copious, more than half as long as the lemma. Leaf blade is up to 60cm long and 12mm wide. The base of leaf sheaths wraps down around the stem for up to 15cm and is densely covered in small hairs. Sheaths usually more or less appressed-villous, especially near the summit. Blades are firm, elongate, flat or soon involute, tapering to a long fine point.

Its spreading panicle distinguishes it from the more tightly contracted panicle of C longifolia var longifolia.

Rhizomatous. Blooming occurs early-July through late-September, fruiting early-August through late-September.

Perennial. The optimal identification period for this species is early-July through late-September.

Associated species include Ammophila breviligulata, Elymus lanceolatus ssp psammophilus, Artemisia campestris, Juniperus horizontalis, and Lathyrus japonicus.

Sand reedgrass is found on Lake Michigan sand dunes.

Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.

Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides and use care with spot spraying.

Avoid disturbance to shorelines and the forest-beach interface.

Avoid any activities that destabilize the dune, including the use of off-road vehicles, removal of native vegetation, and pedestrian recreational overuse.

Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) are associated with habitats (or natural communities) and places on the landscape. Understanding relationships among SGCN, natural communities and ecological landscapes help us make decisions about issues affecting SGCN and their habitat and how to respond. Download the Wildlife Action Plan association score spreadsheet to explore rare species, natural communities and ecological landscape associations

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.