IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial grass is 1-3' tall, branching occasionally; it is erect to sprawling. The slender culms are light green, terete, and glabrous. The blades of the alternate leaves are up to 6" long and ½" across; they are linear, dull light green, and hairless. Each leaf blade tapers at its base and it is either flat or indented in the middle. The leaf sheaths are dull light green and hairless. Each culm terminates in a panicle of spikelets up to 8" long and half as much across. The branchlets of this panicle are slender, whitish green, glabrous, slightly wiry (but otherwise straight), and stiff; they are spreading to ascending, and sparsely produced. There are 5-10 appressed spikelets along the upper half of each branchlet; the lower half is naked. On each branchlet, these spikelets are arranged together in a row. Each spikelet is about 3 mm. long and 1 mm. across, light green, oblongoid, and glabrous or sparsely white-mealy; it consists of a single lemma and a single palea enclosing the floret. There are no glumes. The margins and keel of the lemma are often finely ciliate. The floret has 2 white anthers and 2 white plumose stigmas. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall. Each floret develops a single grain. The root system has scaly rhizomes and fibrous roots. This grass occasionally forms vegetative colonies from its rhizomes; it also reproduces sexually by its fertilized grains.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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