CPC Plant Profile: Slender Orcutt Grass
Search / Plant Profile / Orcuttia tenuis
Plant Profile

Slender Orcutt Grass (Orcuttia tenuis)

Close-up of Slender Orcutt Grass Photo Credit: © 2008 F. Gauna
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Poaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 155653
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

Slender Orcutt grass is an annual species that grows in vernal pools. It typically flowers from May to July, depending on location and elevation. Plants are slightly hairy and branch only from the upper parts of stems, up to 20 cm. tall.

Participating Institutions
CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.
  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, University of California Botanical Garden holds 1 accessions of Orcuttia tenuis in orthodox seed collection. We are uncertain as to how many total seeds are in this collection.

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, University of California Botanical Garden has collected 1 seed accessions of Orcuttia tenuis from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass an unknown number of maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to northern California and restricted to vernal pool habitats in the Central Valley. Known from about 70 extant populations. Vernal pool habitats in California's Central Valley have been greatly reduced from pre-European times; the remaining habitats are limited in extent, fragmented, and are facing on-going degradation and elimination due to numerous housing development projects and other types of urban development, agricultural activities and development, grazing, the invasion of non-native plant species, and other threats.

Holly Forbes
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat loss Habitat fragmentation

Holly Forbes
  • 01/01/2010

Of the 82 occurrences recorded, 76 are thought to be extant. 36% of the populations occur wholly or partially on federal lands.

Holly Forbes
  • 01/01/2010

Not available

Holly Forbes
  • 01/01/2010

The Lassen National Forest and Susanville District of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management jointly prepared a management plan for Slender Orcutt grass sites under their administration (including those in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest) in order to ensure the long-term survival of the species. Actions identified in that plan included avoidance of known populations, maintenance of natural hydrology, monitoring selected populations, and surveys in suitable habitats. As a result of the plan, several areas have been fenced to exclude livestock and a considerable number of additional populations have been discovered. (Recovery Plan)

Holly Forbes
  • 01/01/2010

Response to management actions needs study.

Holly Forbes
  • 01/01/2010

Long term seed bank development.


Be the first to post an update!

Taxon Orcuttia tenuis
Authority A.S. Hitchc.
Family Poaceae
CPC Number 3045
ITIS 41974
Common Names Slender Orcutt Grass
Associated Scientific Names Orcuttia tenuis
Distribution Slender Orcutt grass has been found in Butte, Lake, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama counties, California. The largest concentration of populations is in Tehama Cou
State Rank
State State Rank
California S2

Vernal pools on Northern Volcanic Ashflow and Northern Volcanic mudflow. These pools fill with rain water during the cool winter season and gradually dry out during the summer. (Recovery Plan).

Ecological Relationships

This species is restricted to vernal pool environments. Associated species vary across its wide geographic range. Population sizes vary widely depending on rainfall and other factors. Optimal germination is achieved through stratification followed by warm days and mild nights. Peak flowering of this species typically occurs in May in the Central Valley , but not until June or July on the Modoc Plateau . Unlike Orcuttia pilosa and Tuctoria greenei, Orcuttia tenuis is not likely to die when pools are flooded by late spring or summer rains. (Recovery Plan)

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting
California Department of Fish and Wildlife California Reintroduction 1994

Donate to CPC to Save this Species

CPC secures rare plants for future generations by coordinating on-the-ground conservation and training the next generation of plant conservation professionals. Donate today to help save rare plants from extinction.

Donate Today