Deschampsia is a genus of plants in the grass family, commonly known as hair grass[6] or tussock grass. The genus is widespread across many countries.[7][8]

Deschampsia flexuosa (left)
Deschampsia cespitosa (right)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Supertribe: Poodae
Tribe: Poeae
Subtribe: Aristaveninae
F.Albers & Butzin
Genus: Deschampsia
Type species
Deschampsia cespitosa
(L.) P.Beauv.[3][4]
  • Airidium Steud.
  • Avenella Bluff ex Drejer
  • Campelia Kunth. alternate spelling
  • Campella Link
  • Czerniaevia Ledeb.
  • Erioblastus Honda
  • Homoiachne Pilg.
  • Lerchenfeldia Schur
  • Monandraira Desv.
  • Podionapus Dulac

The genus is named for French physician and naturalist Louis Auguste Deschamps (1765–1842).[7][9]

Deschampsia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera, including antler moth, the clay, clouded-bordered brindle, common wainscot, dark arches, dusky brocade, shoulder-striped wainscot, smoky wainscot and wall.

Deschampsia sometimes grow in boggy acidic formations, an example of which is the Portlethen Moss, Scotland. Deschampsia antarctica is the world's most southern monocot,[10][11] and one of only two flowering plants of Antarctica.[12][13]

Some species, such as D. cespitosa and D. flexuosa, are grown as ornamental garden plants.


Formerly included

Deschampsia formerly included many species now placed in other genera, such as Aira, Antinoria, Bromus, Calamagrostis, Centropodia, Colpodium, Dissanthelium, Holcus, Periballia, Peyritschia, Poa, Trisetum and Vahlodea.[5]


  1. illustration circa 1920 from Bilder ur Nordens Flora by Carl Axel Magnus Lindman
  2. "Genus: Deschampsia P. Beauv". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1999-03-09. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
  3. lectotype designated by Nash in N. L. Britton et A. Brown, Ill. Fl. N.U.S. ed. 2. 1: 215. 7 Jun (1913)
  4. Tropicos, Deschampsia P.Beauv.
  5. "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families".
  6. "Deschampsia". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
  7. Palisot de Beauvois, Ambroise Marie François Joseph. 1812. Essai d'une Nouvelle Agrostographie 91 descriptions in Latin, etymology explained in French
  8. Palisot de Beauvois, Ambroise Marie François Joseph. 1812. Essai d'une Nouvelle Agrostographie, plate XVIII (18) figure III (3) line drawing of Deschampsia cespitosa
  9. Jstor Deschamps, Louis Auguste (1765-1842)
  10. Young, Mark C., ed. (1955). Guinness Book of World Records 1997. Guinness Publishing Ltd. pp. 42. ISBN 0-9652383-0-X.
  11. Wali, Mohan K.; Evrendilek, Fatih; Fennessy, M. Siobhan (July 2009). The Environment: Science, Issues, and Solutions. CRC Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-4200-0733-6. Retrieved 25 Sep 2016.
  12. Smith, Ronald I.L.. 1984 Terrestrial plant biology of the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic. In: Laws, R.M., (ed.) Antarctic Ecology, vol. 1. London, Academic Press, 61-162.
  13. Holderegger, Rolf; Stehlik, Ivana; Lewis Smith, Ronald I.; Abbott, Richard J. (May 2003). "Populations of Antarctic Hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica) Show Low Genetic Diversity". Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. 35 (2): 214–217. doi:10.1657/1523-0430(2003)035[0214:POAHDA]2.0.CO;2.
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