Comprehensive Description

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This grass is ¾–1½' tall and often tufted at the base, sending up multiple unbranched culms. It is a winter or spring annual. The culms are erect to ascending and sometimes decumbent at the base; they are terete, light green, and slender. Each culm has 1-3 alternate leaves along the lower half of its length. The leaf blades are ¾–2½" long and about 1/8" (3 mm.) across; they are dull pale green, hairless, and flat. Along the culm, these blades are erect to ascending, rather than widely spreading. The leaf sheaths are pale green to pale purplish green, finely veined, and hairless. The nodes are dark-colored and swollen. Each culm terminates in a spike-like inflorescence about 1½–3" long and ½" across; this stiff and erect inflorescence consists of 2 overlapping ranks of spikelets. Each spikelet consists of a central lemma, 2 lateral lemmas, and their glumes; each lemma has 2 glumes. The central lemma is sessile, while the lateral lemmas are short-stalked. The central lemma is 12-15 mm. long (including its awn), linear-lanceolate in shape, and fertile; its glumes are 10-15 mm. long (including their awns) and linear-lanceolate in shape. The lateral lemmas are about 5 mm. long (including their awns, if any) and infertile; their glumes are 10-15 mm. long (including their awns). One of the glumes of each lateral lemma is linear-lanceolate, while the other glume is slender and bristle-like. The awns of the glumes and central lemmas are about 5-6 mm. long. Immature lemmas and glumes are light green; the wider glumes have narrow cream margins. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer. The florets of the fertile lemmas are cross-pollinated by the wind. The grain of each fertile lemma is ovoid-oblongloid in shape, light-colored, and about 3 mm. in length. The root system is shallow and fibrous. This grass reproduces by reseeding itself. It occasionally forms small loose colonies in favorable habitats. Cultivation


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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