Spike bentgrass is a medium textured, cool season, perennial bunchgrass with a dense, spike-like flower head (panicle). The stems (culms) are slender and erect, usually 50 to 100 (150) cm tall. The leaf blades are 2 to 20 mm wide, 5 to 20 cm long, and harsh to the touch. This species contains considerable variability, from dwarf alpine forms to taller, more robust specimens along the seacoast. Some texts indicate the occasional presence of short rhizomes and root development or growing points at lower nodes, but rhizomes appear to be lacking on plants in our area. This species is found mostly in the western United States and Canada.
Key to identification: Compared to most other bentgrasses, the panicle is particularly narrow and more spike-like. It is 10 to 25 cm long. The individual flower groups (spikelets) are very tiny and 1-flowered. A botanical grass key may be required to accurately distinguish it from other bentgrasses.
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