Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
DescriptionThis native perennial grass consists of a dense tuft of low basal leaves, from which one or more flowering culms develop. The blades of the basal leaves are up to 2 mm. across and 5" long; they are medium green, hairless, and often curving to the left or the right. Quite often, their margins are involute (rolled inward). Old basal leaves are persistent and tan-colored; they resemble young basal leaves, except they are even more curved and involute. The slender flowering culms are 11½' tall, more or less erect, terete, and hairless. Each culm has about 2 alternate leaves with ascending blades. The blades of the alternate leaves are similar to the basal leaves, except they are more short and straight. The leaf sheaths are green and mostly hairless. However, there is a small tuft of hairs at the apex of each sheath. Each culm terminates in an inflorescence about ¾2" long. This inflorescence is a panicle of floral spikelets that is narrow and raceme-like in appearance. The branches of the inflorescence are short, slender, and ascending. Individual spikelets are 7-15 mm. long, consisting of a pair of glumes and 3-7 lemmas with their florets. The glumes are 7-15 mm. long, hairless, and linear in shape. The lemmas are arranged in 2 ranks; they are 3.55.0 mm. long, narrowly ovoid, and flattened. The outer surfaces of the lemmas are gently curved and covered with fine hairs. Each lemma terminates in a pair of tiny teeth and a central awn that is 5-8 mm. in length and usually twisted or coiled near the base. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-summer for about 2 weeks; the florets are wind-pollinated. Each lemma of the spikelets contains a single grain. Disarticulation of the spikelets is above the glumes. Poverty Oat Grass also produces cleistogamous (self-fertile) florets. The root system is fibrous and short-rhizomatous.