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This genus consists primarily of subalpine to alpine taxa. Its members have strictly intravaginal branching, fine leaves that lack sclerenchyma girders, relatively thin lemmas and short calluses and, in most species, a plumose awns. Weber () was the first to recognize that the genus was represented in North America. Freitag (1985) treated the genus as Stipa sect. Ptilagrostis and suggested that it is an alpine offshoot of sect. Lasiagrostis. It would be interesting to determine whether the North American taxa are genetically closer to each other or to the Asian species. I suspect that P. pelliotii ia closer to Achnatherum but am not sufficiently acquainted with Asian taxa to do more than raise the question.

Sources of information: Freitag 1985; L.B. Cai (2004); Flora of China

Taxon Synonyms Distribution
P. concinna   China (Gansu, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan), India (Sikkim), Kashmir, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
P. dichotoma   Bhutan, China (Gansu, Nei Mongol, QInghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan), N. India, Nepal
P. junatovii   China (Xinjiang, Xizang), Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia
P. kingii   U.S.A. (California)
P. luquensis   China (Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Xizang)
P. mongholica Stipa mongholica Turcz. Ex Trinius; Achnatherum mongholicum (Turcz. Ex Trinius) Ohwi; Stipa tibetica Mex; Ptilagrostis tibetica (Mez) Tzvelev; P. dichotoma fide L.B. Cai (2004) Afghanistan; Bhutan; China (Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Yunnan); India; Kashmir, Mongolia, Nepal; Russia
P. pelliotii [MEB: I suspect that this species does not belong in Ptilagrostis]   China (Gansu, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang), Mongolia
P. porteri   U.S.A. (Colorado)
P. purpurea   Sikkim
P. roshevitsiana   China (Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Xizang)
P. yadongensis   China (Xizang)