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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

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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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

Other common names include spike redtop and western bentgrass. There are three recognized varieties: A. exarata. var. exarata, A. exarata. var. pacifica Vasey, and A. exarata. var. monolepis (Torrey) Hitchc. Spike bentgrass apparently hybridizes with A. scabra and A. stolonifera.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Coastal AK.

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Spike bentgrass is mostly a western grass. It occurs from Manitoba,
South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, and Mexico west to the Pacific states and
provinces, including Alaska [8,12,18]. Spike bentgrass is widely
distributed in the mountains of northern California and occurs on Santa
Cruz Island, off the coast of southern California [5]. Zifka [30]
discovered an adventive colony of spike bentgrass (Agrostis exarta var.
monolepis) in Rutland County, Vermont, in 1982.

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Occurrence in North America

AK AZ CA CO ID HI MT NE NV NM
OK OR SD TX UT VT WA WY AB BC
MB SK MEXICO

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Adaptation

Spike bentgrass has broad adaptation to a wide variety of habitats. Despite the tiny seed size, it is easy to establish and a high seed producer with good commercial potential. Spike bentgrass occurs in a wide variety of habitats including forest openings, grasslands, shrub lands, wet meadows, freshwater and high tidal marshes, as well as along streams, rocky beaches, and lake margins. It is most commonly found in moist open places, but occasionally grows in dry habitats such as semi-arid grasslands. Relatively shade intolerant, this species performs well on moderately acidic, mineral soils. While most prevalent on disturbed sites such as ditches, harvested forestland, and roadsides, it may also be found in established meadow and riparian plant communities. Habitats range from sea level to alpine zones. This species occurs mostly in the western United States and Canada.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Spike bentgrass is a native, perennial bunchgrass. Culms are slender
and erect, usually 3.3 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m) tall [1,11,20,24]. The
blades are ascending to spreading, 0.08 to 0.4 inch (2-10 mm) wide, and
up to 8 inches (20 cm) long [9,11,16]. The panicle is narrow, open to
spikelike, and 4 to 10 inches (10-25 cm) tall [1,9]. Spike bentgrass
occasionally develops slender rhizomes [11,16].

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence a dense slender spike-like panicle or raceme, branches contracted, Infloresce nce solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Lower panicle branches whorled, Peduncle or rachis scabrous or pubescent, often with long hairs, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glumes 1 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex truncate, rounded, or obtuse, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm , Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn less than 1 cm long, Lemma awn subapical or dorsal, Lemma awns straight or curved to base, Lemma awn once geniculate, bent once, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear.
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Dr. David Bogler

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceed ing basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence a dense slender spike-like panicle or raceme, branches contracted, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Lower panicle branches whorled, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets solita ry at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glumes 1 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex truncate, rounded, or obtuse, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn less than 1 cm long, Lemma awn subapical or dorsal, Lemma awns straight or curved to base, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, h ilum long-linear.
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Dr. David Bogler

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at b ase, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches spreading, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence a dense slender spike-like panicle or raceme, branches contracted, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Lower panicle branches whorled, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disartic ulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glumes 1 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex truncate, rounded, or obtuse, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn less than 1 cm long, Lemma awn subapical or dorsal, Lemma awns straight or curved to base, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear.
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Dr. David Bogler

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Type Information

Type fragment for Agrostis grandis Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556258
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. D. Hooker
Locality: Northwest, Columbia., United States, North America
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Type fragment for Agrostis albicans Buckley
Catalog Number: US 76427
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): T. Nuttall
Locality: Columbia woods., Oregon, United States, North America
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Type fragment for Agrostis durangensis Mez
Catalog Number: US 75434
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Locality: Durango, Mexico, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis durangensis Mez
Catalog Number: US 843116
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1896
Locality: Low wet places in alkaline bottoms., Durango, Mexico, North America
Elevation (m): 1892 to 1892
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Type fragment for Agrostis canina var. melaleuca Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556225
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): -. Drummond
Locality: Sitka Island, Alaska, United States, North America
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Type fragment for Agrostis asperifolia Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556259
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. D. Hooker
Locality: "America Boreal", North America
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Holotype for Agrostis ampla Hitchc.
Catalog Number: US 556262
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. N. Suksdorf
Year Collected: 1885
Locality: Near Rooster Rock., Multnomah, Oregon, United States, North America
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Holotype for Agrostis longiligula Hitchc.
Catalog Number: US 556232
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. Burtt Davy & W. Blasdale
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: Near Ft. Bragg., Mendocino, California, United States, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis longiligula var. australis J.T. Howell
Catalog Number: US 1867571
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. T. Howell
Year Collected: 1943
Locality: Pt. Reyes, Ledum Swamp., Marin, California, United States, North America
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Holotype for Agrostis microphylla var. major Vasey
Catalog Number: US 556265
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. Watson
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: W. Humboldt Mts., Nevada, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 1524 to 1524
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Holotype for Agrostis microphylla var. major Vasey
Catalog Number: US 556264
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. Watson
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: Truckee Valley., Nevada, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 1219 to 1219
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Isotype fragment for Agrostis scouleri Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556261
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. D. Hooker
Locality: Nutka Sund. [Nootka Sound], British Colombia, Canada, North America
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Isotype fragment for Agrostis scouleri Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556255
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. D. Hooker
Locality: Nutka Sund. [Nootka Sound], British Colombia, Canada, North America
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Holotype for Agrostis exarata var. pacifica Vasey
Catalog Number: US 838694
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. E. Jones
Year Collected: 1882
Locality: California, United States, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis aenea Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556219
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): Collector unknown
Year Collected: 1829
Locality: Unalaska., Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, United States, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis aenea Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556220
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): Collector unknown
Year Collected: 1829
Locality: Unalaska., Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, United States, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis aenea Trin.
Catalog Number: US 556218
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): Collector unknown
Year Collected: 1829
Locality: Unalaska., Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, United States, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis durangensis Mez
Catalog Number: US 746952
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1896
Locality: City of Durango & vicinity., Durango, Mexico, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis durangensis Mez
Catalog Number: US 746951
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1896
Locality: Durango, Mexico, North America
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Isotype for Agrostis durangensis Mez
Catalog Number: US 746950
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1896
Locality: Durango, Mexico, North America
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Type fragment for Agrostis asperigluma Steud.
Catalog Number: US 75327
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. Lechler
Locality: Pr. Huiti Chili., Chile, South America
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Wet places.

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Habitat characteristics

Spike bentgrass occurs in a wide variety of habitats including
woodlands, forest openings, grasslands, shrublands, meadows, marshes,
and stream and lake margins [9,18,24,29]. It is most commonly found in
moist open places [1,12,20] but is also found in dry habitats such as
semiarid grasslands [10,19]. Spike bentgrass grows on disturbed sites
such as ditches and along roadsides [11,30]. Spike bentgrass occurs
from sea level to alpine zones [5,10,18,20,29]. It occupies sites as
high as 10,500 feet (3,150 m) in Utah [29].

Spike bentgrass grows well on soils derived from schists, limestones,
sandstones, and conglomerates [32].

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: association, tundra

Spike bentgrass occurs in a wide variety of habitat types including
pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.), aspen (Populus spp.), fir-spruce
(Abies-Picea spp.), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), lodgepole pine (P.
contorta), subalpine forest, coastal sage scrub, meadow, alpine, and
tundra [3,5,19,27,28].

In Utah, spike bentgrass is a common grass in wet meadows and parklands
in mountain grassland communities and moist, semishaded sites in aspen
communities. It is also is found in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)
communities [29].

In the Black Hills of western South Dakota, spike bentgrass is a common
understory species in quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) communities
[32].

In northwestern Oregon, spike bentgrass is a component of the
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest [17].

Along montane forest river valleys in Colorado, spike bentgrass occurs
in cottonwood-willow (Populus-Salix spp.) and red-osier dogwood (Cornus
sericea) associations [2].

Spike bentgrass is a member of the pink mountain heather-white mountain
heather (Phyllodoce empetriformis-Cassiope mertensiana) meadow community
in northwestern Washington [3].

In the annual grasslands of California, spike bentgrass is a member of
the fescue-oatgrass (Festuca-Danthonia) community [10]. In southern
California, it is also a member of coastal sage scrub, particularly the
purple sage (Salvia leucophylla) association [28].

Spike bentgrass occurs in tundra on the northeastern arctic slope of
Alaska [19].

The following publication lists spike bentgrass as a community dominant:

The chaparral vegetation of Santa Cruz Island, California [5]

Species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with spike
bentgrass in the Rocky Mountain states include American hazel (Corylus
americana), thinleaf alder (Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia), Rocky
Mountain maple (Acer glabrum), common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana),
Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), shinyleaf spiraea
(Spiraea lucida), silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea), Kentucky
bluegrass (Poa pratense), bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis
canadensis), beaked sedge (Carex rostrata), water sedge (C. aquatilis),
field horsetail (Equisetum arvense), hairy willowweed (Epilobium
ciliatum), Richardson geranium (Geranium richardsonii), smooth aster
(Aster laevis), cream peavine (Lathyrus ochroleucus), wild sarsaparilla
(Aralia nudicaulis), white clover (Trifolium repens), and
false-Solomon's-seal (Smilacina stellata) [2,32].

Species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with spike
bentgrass in California include California scrub oak (Quercus dumosa),
chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia),
hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia), sugar sumac (Rhus ovata), tree
poppy (Dendromecon rigida), coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis), Catalina
bedstraw (Galium catalinense), southern bush monkeyflower (Mimulus
longiflorus), tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa), nodding trisetum
(Trisetum cernuum), Geyer oniongrass (Melica geyeri), soft chess (Bromus
mollis), red brome (B. rubens), wild oat (Avena fatua), foxtail barley
(Critestion jubatum), naked sedge (Calamagrostis nutkaensis), and
prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha) [5,10].

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: shrub

K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce - fir forest
K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K017 Black Hills pine forest
K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest
K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K030 California oakwoods
K033 Chaparral
K035 Coastal sagebrush
K047 Fescue - oatgrass
K049 Tule marshes
K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass
K052 Alpine meadows and barren
K055 Sagebrush steppe
K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe
K063 Foothills prairie
K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass
K065 Grama - buffalograss
K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass
K068 Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

More info for the term: shrub

FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon - juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES37 Mountain meadows
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES41 Wet grasslands
FRES44 Alpine

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

42 Bur oak
201 White spruce
203 Balsam poplar
206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
209 Bristlecone pine
210 Interior Douglas-fir
216 Blue spruce
217 Aspen
218 Lodgepole pine
219 Limber pine
222 Black cottonwood - willow
233 Oregon white oak
235 Cottonwood - willow
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon - juniper
250 Blue oak - Digger pine
252 Paper birch
256 California mixed subalpine

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Dispersal

Establishment

Some recommend a light debearding to remove the seed appendage (awn) in order to facilitate further seed cleaning and sowing with a drill. The seed has no dormancy and germinates readily. There are approximately 5,600,000 seeds/lb (+/- 20%). A seeding rate of 1 lb/acre of pure live seed would result in 125 live seeds per square foot. Given the small seed size, the single species seeding rate is generally 1-3 lbs/acre, but some literature recommends a rate of 3-5 or up to 8 lbs/acre to attain a full stand. The species establishes easily on moist, mineral soil in spring or fall. However, the seed readily migrates in flood prone areas so a thin mulch layer coupled with a late summer or early fall plantings may be preferred.

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Associations

Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Mastigosporium anamorph of Mastigosporium rubricosum causes spots on live leaf of Agrostis exarata

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Population Biology

Relative abundance in the wild

Spike bentgrass is relatively common is western Oregon, western Washington, and California. It can be locally abundant on moist sites throughout the western states. The species produces large quantities of tiny seeds with good retention that are easy to harvest or collect. It is usually not found in large pure stands, but occurs as scattered individuals or small colonies across a landscape.

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General Ecology

Immediate Effect of Fire

Grasses are generally top-killed by fire so spike bentgrass is probably
top-killed by fire. Specific fire effects, however, are not described
in the literature.

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: graminoid

Tussock graminoid
Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: climax

Facultative Seral Species

Spike bentgrass is generally a pioneer species. It is relatively shade
intolerant and thrives in open, sunny locations [13]. Seed becomes
established on bare mineral soil. Seedlings of spike bentgrass become
established on old-growth forests that have been recently harvested
[13]. Once spike bentgrass becomes established, it may remain important
throughout the early seral stages [13]. Spike bentgrass is a component
of relatively undisturbed riparian communities in Colorado [2]. In the
Sierra Nevada, spike bentgrass may occur in climax meadow vegetation
[21].

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Regeneration Processes

Spike bentgrass reproduces primarily by seed but may also spread
laterally by rhizomes [11,24]. Seeds colonize recently disturbed sites
that have exposed mineral soil seedbeds [13].

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

Hemicryptophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Plant Response to Fire

No specific information on spike bentgrass response to fire is available
in the literature. Ticklegrass, a similar species, increases in
abundance in response to fire (see the FEIS write-up for Agrostis
scabra).

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Fire Ecology

No information was available in the literature concerning spike
bentgrass fire ecology or adaptations. However, a similar species,
ticklegrass (Agrostis scabra), colonizes bare mineral soil on recently
burned sites and may store seeds in the soil for short durations,
allowing for early establishment of areas burned in the spring (see the
FEIS write-up for Agrostis scabra).

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Fire Management Considerations

Since spike bentgrass is considered a decreaser species when overgrazed
[21], fire plans may have to be coordinated with grazing management to
ensure seedling establishment.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Spike bentgrass flowers from June to August [16,20]. Seed ripens and
sheds during August and September, depending on altitude [24].

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Agrostis exarata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Agrostis exarata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 24
Specimens with Barcodes: 24
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Numerous sites in Hulten, 1968.

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: cover, fuel

Spike bentgrass is considered the most valuable native redtop (Agrostis
spp.) on California rangelands because of its abundance and wide
distribution [24]. Spike bentgrass decreases with overgrazing in climax
meadows of the Sierra Nevada [21].

In the spring of 1972, there was a spill of diesel fuel in a subalpine
meadow on Mount Baker, Washington. The estimated prespill cover of
spike bentgrass was minute. All plants were killed by the diesel fuel.
Spike bentgrass was not found in a survey of the area conducted in 1980
[3].

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Commercial availability

Several seed sources are available for California and at least one for the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ecotypes may be harder to locate for other western states.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Limitations and environmental concerns

Due to its abundant seed production and broad adaptability, it may be considered weedy in certain environments. Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use.

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Information on this species is limited. Moderate amounts of forage are produced and utilized by livestock, large game, and other wildlife well into summer. The ability of spike bentgrass to easily volunteer on moist, disturbed ground and readily produce seed makes it a candidate for moist soil management of wetland habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Spike bentgrass has been used as a soil stabilizer in degraded areas
[27].

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Spike bentgrass is an important source of montane forage for livestock
in the summer [24,27,29,32]. Herbage stays green and palatable
throughout the summer [24,27,29].

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Palatability

Spike bentgrass is rated good for cattle, horses, and elk, and fair to
good for sheep and deer [29].

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Uses

As a pioneer species, spike bentgrass has good potential for restoration of prairie wetlands, riparian areas, and other seasonally wet or intermittently flooded habitats. It is also useful for revegetation of ditches, logged or burned over timberland, and other disturbances within brush and open woodland communities.

Where locally abundant, this species is an important source of forage for livestock. Foliage remains green and palatable throughout the summer. Its palatability is rated good for cattle, horses, and elk, and fair to good for sheep and deer. Spike bentgrass is also planted as a soil stabilizer in degraded areas and has been suggested for use in excluding reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea). Value for wildlife habitat is ranked high for numerous birds and mammals. Compared to many bentgrasses, spike bentgrass is considered by some as more compatible with other native grasses, forbs, and trees.

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Wikipedia

Agrostis exarata

Agrostis exarata is a species of grass known by the common names Pacific bentgrass, spike bentgrass, and spike redtop. It is native to western North America from Texas[1] to the Aleutian Islands.

Description[edit]

This is a common perennial grass reaching one to three feet in height with long, thin, flat leaves each with a ligule of 2–4 millimetres (0.079–0.157 in). The tuft inflorescence may be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and is usually dense with tiny spikelets.[2] It reproduces mainly by seed, but it can also spread via rhizome. This bunchgrass occurs in many plant communities in varied climates. It is considered good forage for livestock.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spike bentgrass". USDA. Plants Profile. Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
  2. ^ Jepson Manual Treatment
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: As treated by Kartesz (1999), has no recognized varieties, but includes other species (such as Agrostis ampla and A. longiligula) that had been recognized separately by him in his 1994 checklist. LEM 31Jan01.

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The currently accepted scientific name of spike bentgrass is Agrostis
exarata Trin. [1,9,11,20,27]. It is a member of the Poaceae family.
There are three recognized varieties:

A. e. var. exarata
A. e. var. pacifica Vasey [14,20]
A. e. var. monolepis (Torrey) Hitchc. [11,20,27]

Spike bentgrass apparently hybridizes with ticklegrass (A. scabra) and
bentgrass (A. stolonifera) [27].

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Common Names

spike bentgrass
spike redtop
spike bent
western bentgrass

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