IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This introduced grass is a summer annual about 2-5' tall. It often branches near the base, sending up multiple stems that are erect to ascending. The blades of the alternate leaves are up to 15" long and ¾" across; they are light to medium green, linear in shape, and rather floppy and drooping. The upper surface of each leaf blade often has scattered fine hairs that are stiff and bristly; sometimes the upper surface is shiny and nearly hairless. The margins of the leaf blades are rough-textured from minute teeth. The leaf sheaths are light green, pubescent to hairless, and open at the apex. Each ligule at the junction of the sheath and blade consists of a ring-like tuft of white hairs up to 3 mm. long. Each stem terminates in a spike-like panicle of florets up to 7" long. These spike-like panicles are very bristly in appearance and nod downward towards their tips; they are initially light green, but later become light brown to straw-colored. Each side branch of the panicle is very short and inconspicuous; each branch has a few ovoid spikelets on short pedicels. Each spikelet has a pair of glumes, a fertile lemma with a floret, and 1-3 bristly hairs that originate from the base of the spikelet. The first glume is about 1 mm. long, the second glume is about 2 mm. long, and the fertile lemma is about 3 mm. long. The bristly hairs of each spikelet are initially green, but later become light brown to straw-colored; they are up to ½" long. The floret of each spikelet has an ovary, 3 stamens, and a pair of feathery stigmas. The blooming period typically occurs from late summer to early fall; the florets are wind-pollinated. Each spikelet develops a single grain during the fall that is pale-colored, ovoid in shape, and rather flattened. The root system consists of a shallow tuft of fibrous roots. This grass reproduces by reseeding itself. It often forms colonies of varying size.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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