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Products > Melica imperfecta
Melica imperfecta - Coast Range Melic

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Melica imperfecta
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Flower Color: Tan
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 1-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Melica imperfecta (Coast Range Melic) - A densely tufting perennial clump grass to one foot tall with slender green leaves that flush out attractively in winter and are followed in spring by upright fountain-like inflorescences up to 2 to 3 feet tall that arch out and delicately hold small gray-green to cream spikelets that are blushed purple and age to tan. Plant in full coastal sun to part shade and irrigate little to not at all - will go drought deciduous in summer without any irrigation. Hardy to at least 15 F. This is a great grass for incorporating into a meadow or grassy borders and for a natural look in dry shade. It is most effective when in a mass or at least a small grouping and is good for erosion control on shaded slopes. It was an important forage plant for elk and deer but has been mostly destroyed by cattle overgrazing. California Melic is native to dry coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands, creosote scrub, pinyon-juniper woodland and other dry areas in the southern half of the state at elevations between sea level and 4000 feet and can also be found in Arizona, Nevada and in Baja California, Mexico. The name for the genus comes from the Greek name 'melike' which is derived from 'mel' meaning "honey" and originally referred to another grass, perhaps a type sorghum or other plant with sweet sap. The specific epithet means "imperfect" but is of of uncertain application. Other common names include Small Flowered Melica, Smallflower Melicgrass, Little California Melic and California Melic, though this name is shared with Melica californica. A great grass for the dry garden but we couldn't keep it happy in a container over summer and we have discontinued growing it.  Information displayed on this page about  Melica imperfecta is based on the research conducted about it in our library and from reliable online resources. We also note those observations we have made of this plant as it grows in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how crops have performed in our nursery field. We will incorporate comments we receive from others, and welcome to hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.