IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This introduced perennial grass is 2–3½' tall and unbranched. The culm is light green, hairless, and terete (round in cross-section); the nodes of the culm are green and glabrous. The blades of the alternate leaves are up to 1/3" across and 9" long; they are dull green to greyish blue, hairless, flat, and linear. Their margins are scabrous, while the base of each leaf blade is usually more wide than the culm. The ligules have brittle papery membranes. The sheaths are dull green to greyish blue like the leaf blades. The culm terminates in a spike-like panicle of florets that is narrowly cylindrical; this inflorescence is up to 7" long and 1/3" across. The spikelets are densely packed together along the entire length of the inflorescence. Each spikelet is about 3.5 mm. long, consisting of 2 glumes that are appressed together and a single fertile lemma. Each glume is about 3.5 mm. long; it is ciliate along the keel and terminates in an awn that is shorter than the glume. The lemma is shorter than the glumes and enclosed by them; its upper margin is truncate and dentate. The lemma encloses a membranous palea with a single flower that consists of 3 stamens and a pair of feathery styles. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-summer and lasts about 2-3 weeks. During this time, the anthers of the flowers release prodigious amounts of pollen. As the grains ripen, the cylindrical panicles of spikelets become light brown. The root system consists of fibrous roots and short rhizomes. Tufts of plants are often formed, sometimes forming sizable colonies.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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