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White Grass (Leersia virginica) is a good example of the kinds of grasses that grow in wooded areas. Such grasses usually have delicate thin-textured foliage and their panicles or racemes are slender and lanky with small spikelets. As a general rule, they are not very showy. White Grass is fairly easy to identify because its spikelets are appressed together to form a single row along the upper one-half of each lateral branch. Each perfect floret of White Grass produces only 2 anthers; this is unusual, because most grasses produce 3 anthers per floret. Other cutgrasses (Leersia spp.) in Illinois are found primarily in sunny wetlands and they are less delicate. One of them, Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), is exceptionally harsh with sawtooth margins along its leaf blades and stiff bristly hairs everywhere else. The spikelets of these other cutgrasses are larger in size (4 mm. or more in length) than those of White Grass.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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