Pleuropogon oregonus

Common Names:
Oregon semaphore grass
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Programs

The conservation of Pleuropogon oregonus is fully sponsored.


The very existence of Oregon semaphore grass has been a recurring question over the past 100 years. In 1886, William C. Cusick first collected this grass in what was once called Hog Valley in northeastern Oregon, and another collection was made in Union, Oregon in 1901. It was not collected again until 1936, when M.E. Peck discovered it in the southern part of the state (in Lake County, Oregon). It was not seen or collected again for nearly 40 years and was reported as presumably extinct or endangered in the late 1970s. In 1979, Jimmy Kagan of the Oregon Natural Heritage Program diligently scoured a site along Mud Creek in Lake County until he found this particular grass (But 1985). This was probably the same location Peck had made his collection 45 years before.

In 1986, USFS botanist Andy Kratz was determined to lead a thorough search for the Hog Valley population. There was no place officially called "Hog Valley", as it was a name that had been used by locals, but was apparently not commonly used any longer. There was no documentation telling him where to look, so he relied on personal communication with people who lived in the region. Mr. Kratz was eventually directed to an enthusiastic landowner in Union County willing to help him in his search. He was successful in finding the previously documented site in "Hog Valley" as well as 3 new locations nearby in Union County, Oregon. He surveyed surrounding counties including Baker, Harney, Grant, Umatilla, Wheeler, and Morrow but made no discoveries (Kratz 1986). Today, scientists are still only aware of the two main populations of this rare plant.

Although the range is so limited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed this plant from candidate status in 1996 because the threats from grazing and stream channelization appeared minimal. It is, however, listed as Threatened by the state of Oregon.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research