Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Grass Family (Poaceae). Slim tridens is a native, warm season, perennial bunch grass. The height ranges from 8 to 12 inches. The leaf blade is narrow, and rolled giving a needlelike appearance and sometimes sparsely covered with fine hairs. The leaf sheath is shorter than the internodes and usually covered with short hairs. The ligule is a ring of hairs. The stems are erect, slender, and somewhat swollen at the base. The seedheads are dense panicles, spikelets with 6  to 8 flowered, and pale purplish. The back of the palea is densely covered with hair.

Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Slim tridens occurs through much of the southwestern United States, from
California to the southern Great Plains, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and
Texas south to central Mexico. It is widely distributed in the
Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts [9,24,31].
  • 9. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 31. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 24. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains

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Occurrence in North America

AR AZ CA CO KS NV NM OK TX UT
MEXICO

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Tridens muticus fo. effusus I.M. Johnst.:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
  • Soreng, R. J., G. Davidse, P. M. Peterson, F. O. Zuloaga, E. J. Judziewicz, T. S. Filgueiras & O. Morrone. 2003 and onwards. On-line taxonomic novelties and updates, distributional additions and corrections, and editorial changes since the four published volumes of the Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae) published in Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. vols. 39, 41, 46, and 48. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/CNWG:. In R. J. Soreng, G. Davidse, P. M. Peterson, F. O. Zuloaga, T. S. Filgueiras, E. J. Judziewicz & O. Morrone Internet Cat. New World Grasses. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1024044 External link.
  • Valdés-Reyna, J. & P. M. Peterson. 2001. Tridens. In Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae): II. Subfamily Chloridoideae. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 41: 225–228.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1003696 External link.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Tricuspis mutica Torr.:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Tridens muticus (Torr.) Nash:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
  • Anonymous. 1986. List-Based Rec., Soil Conserv. Serv., U.S.D.A. Database of the U.S.D.A., Beltsville.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1103 External link.
  • Soreng, R. J., G. Davidse, P. M. Peterson, F. O. Zuloaga, E. J. Judziewicz, T. S. Filgueiras & O. Morrone. 2003 and onwards. On-line taxonomic novelties and updates, distributional additions and corrections, and editorial changes since the four published volumes of the Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae) published in Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. vols. 39, 41, 46, and 48. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/CNWG:. In R. J. Soreng, G. Davidse, P. M. Peterson, F. O. Zuloaga, T. S. Filgueiras, E. J. Judziewicz & O. Morrone Internet Cat. New World Grasses. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1024044 External link.
  • Herrera Arrieta, Y. & A. Cortés Ortiz. 2010. Listado florístico y aspectos ecológicos de la familia Poaceae para Chihuahua, Durango y Zacatecas, México. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 4(2): 711–738.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100002652 External link.
  • Espejo Serna, A., A. R. López-Ferrari & J. Valdés-Reyna. 2000. Poaceae. Monocot. Mexic. Sinopsis Floríst. 10: 7–236 [and index].   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1015183 External link.
  • Beetle, A. A. 1977. Noteworthy grasses from Mexico V. Phytologia 37(4): 317–407.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/2538 External link.
  • Gould, F. W. & R. Moran. 1981. The grasses of Baja California, Mexico. Mem. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 12: 1–140.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/11232 External link.
  • Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston. 1970. Man. Vasc. Pl. Texas i–xv, 1–1881. The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1493 External link.
  • Munz, P. A. & D. D. Keck. 1959. Cal. Fl. 1–1681. University of California Press, Berkeley.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1717 External link.
  • Munz, P. A. 1974. Fl. S. Calif. 1–1086. University of California Press, Berkeley.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1719 External link.
  • Barkworth, M. E., K. M. Capels, S. Long & M. B. Piep. 2003. Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 2. 25: i–xxv, 1–783. In Fl. N. Amer. Oxford University Press, New York.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1021466 External link.
  • Valdés-Reyna, J. & P. M. Peterson. 2001. Tridens. In Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae): II. Subfamily Chloridoideae. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 41: 225–228.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1003696 External link.
  • Cronquist, A. J., A. H. Holmgren, N. H. Holmgren & Reveal. 1977. Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. 6: 1–584. In A. J. Cronquist, A. H. Holmgren, N. H. Holmgren, J. L. Reveal & P. K. Holmgren (eds.) Intermount. Fl. Hafner Pub. Co., New York.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1725 External link.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Arizona to Texas, Colorado to Missouri and Arkansas.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: caespitose

Slim tridens is a caespitose, stoloniferous, perennial grass, 8 to 30
inches (20-80 cm) tall. The bunches are usually narrow, not more than 3
or 4 inches (7 or 10 cm) in diameter [12,15,20]. It is considered a
warm-season grass and exhibits C4 photosynthesis, which is adaptive for
high temperatures and drought conditions [16,22].
  • 12. Humphrey, Robert R. 1960. Forage production on Arizona ranges. V. Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz Counties. Bulletin 502. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 137 p. [4520]
  • 15. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 16. Kemp, Paul R. 1983. Phenological patterns of Chihuahuan desert plants in relation to the timing of water availability. Journal of Ecology. 71: 427-436. [5054]
  • 20. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17553]
  • 22. McPherson, Guy R.; Rasmussen, G. Allen; Wester, David B.; Masters, Robert A. 1991. Vegetation and soil zonation associated with Juniperus pinchoth Sudw. trees. Great Basin Naturalist. 51(4): 316-324. [18105]

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem nodes bearded or hairy, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath hairy, hispid or prickly, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades very narrow or filiform, less than 2 mm wide, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or condupl icate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Ligule present, Ligule a fringe of hairs, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence spike linear or cylindric, several times longer than wide, Inflorescence with 2-10 branches, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets with 8-40 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glumes keeled or winged, Glumes 1 nerved, Glumes 3 nerved, Glumes 4-7 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma body or surface hairy, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma apex dentate, 2-fid, Lemma awnless, Lemma straight, Callus or base of lemma evidently hairy, Callus hairs shorter than lemma, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Type Information

Isotype for Tricuspis mutica Torr.
Catalog Number: US 3376126
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. M. Bigelow
Year Collected: 1853
Locality: Fort Smith to the Rio Grande. Laguna Colorado, New Mexico, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Torrey, J. 1857. Rep. Explor. Railroad Pacific. 4: 156.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: cover, shrub

Slim tridens occurs on dry plains, gravelly slopes, canyons and rocky
hills up to 6,000 feet (1,829 m) [15,24]. It is adapted to
well-drained, calcareous and rocky, sandy or clayey soils [9,20,24,32].
It tends to reach higher densities on the slightly wetter sites, such as
elevations between 4,220 and 5,200 feet (1,286 and 1,585 m) [6].

Common shrub associates not listed as SAF cover types include:
creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), wavyleaf oak (Quercus undulata), gray
oak (Q. grisea), one-seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma), lechuguilla
agave (Agave lechuguilla), smooth sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum),
Opuntia spp., and catclaw mimosa (Mimosa biuncifera) [3,17,25,28,32].

Other common associates (forbs and grasses) include: skeleton goldeneye
(Viguiera stenoloba), hairy grama (Bouteloua hirsuta), sideoats grama
(B. curtipendula), threeawn (Aristida spp.), hairy tridens (Tridens
pilosum), and curly leaf muhly (Muhlenbergia setifolia) [3,17,25,28,32].
  • 9. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 3. Chew, Robert M. 1982. Changes in herbaceous and suffrutescent perennials in grazed and ungrazed desertified grassland in southeastern Arizona, 1958-1978. American Midland Naturalist. 108(1): 159-169. [4242]
  • 6. Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1967. Vegetation of the Guadalupe Escarpment, New Mexico-Texas. Ecology. 48(3): 404-419. [5149]
  • 15. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 17. Kittams, Walter H. 1973. Effect of fire on vegetation of the Chihuahuan Desert region. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, Texas. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 427-444. [6271]
  • 20. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17553]
  • 24. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924]
  • 25. Newman, George A. 1979. Compositional aspects of breeding avifaunas in selected woodlands of the southern Guadalupe Mountains, Texas. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 181-237. [16021]
  • 28. Steuter, Allen A.; Wright, Henry A. 1983. Spring burning effects on redberry juniper-mixed grass habitats. Journal of Range Management. 36(2): 161-164. [18716]
  • 32. Wilcox, Bradford P.; Wood, M. Karl. 1988. Hydrologic impacts of sheep grazing on steep slopes in semiarid rangelands. Journal of Range Management. 41(4): 303-306. [5228]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: cover, shrub

Common shrub associates not listed as SAF cover types include:
creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), wavyleaf oak (Quercus undulata), gray
oak (Q. grisea), one-seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma), lechuguilla
agave (Agave lechuguilla), smooth sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum),
Opuntia spp., and catclaw mimosa (Mimosa biuncifera) [3,17,25,28,32].

Other common associates (forbs and grasses) include: skeleton goldeneye
(Viguiera stenoloba), hairy grama (Bouteloua hirsuta), sideoats grama
(B. curtipendula), threeawn (Aristida spp.), hairy tridens (Tridens
pilosum), and curly leaf muhly (Muhlenbergia setifolia) [3,17,25,28,32].
  • 3. Chew, Robert M. 1982. Changes in herbaceous and suffrutescent perennials in grazed and ungrazed desertified grassland in southeastern Arizona, 1958-1978. American Midland Naturalist. 108(1): 159-169. [4242]
  • 17. Kittams, Walter H. 1973. Effect of fire on vegetation of the Chihuahuan Desert region. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, Texas. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 427-444. [6271]
  • 25. Newman, George A. 1979. Compositional aspects of breeding avifaunas in selected woodlands of the southern Guadalupe Mountains, Texas. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 181-237. [16021]
  • 28. Steuter, Allen A.; Wright, Henry A. 1983. Spring burning effects on redberry juniper-mixed grass habitats. Journal of Range Management. 36(2): 161-164. [18716]
  • 32. Wilcox, Bradford P.; Wood, M. Karl. 1988. Hydrologic impacts of sheep grazing on steep slopes in semiarid rangelands. Journal of Range Management. 41(4): 303-306. [5228]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the terms: cactus, shrub

K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland
K027 Mesquite bosque
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K041 Creosotebush
K042 Creosotebush - bursage
K043 Paloverde - cactus shrub
K044 Creosotebush - tarbush
K053 Grama - galleta steppe
K054 Grama - tobosa prairie
K057 Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe
K058 Grama - tobosa shrubsteppe
K059 Trans-Pecos shrub savanna
K060 Mesquite savanna
K061 Mesquite - acacia savanna
K071 Shinnery
K084 Cross Timbers
K085 Mesquite - buffalograss
K086 Juniper - oak savanna
K087 Mesquite - oak savanna

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

More info for the term: shrub

FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES31 Shinnery
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES35 Pinyon - juniper
FRES40 Desert grasslands

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

66 Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper
67 Mohrs ("shin") oak
68 Mesquite
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon - juniper
240 Arizona cypress
241 Western live oak
242 Mesquite

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Dispersal

Establishment

It makes most of its growth in the late spring and the seedheads generally appear 4 to 5 weeks later. The bunches are seldom more than 3 to 4 inches in diameter. It is adapted to well drained, rocky calcareous soils.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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General Ecology

Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, shrub, wildfire

Perennial grasses in general undergo rapid postfire recovery and are
usually improved as forage. Three years after a wildfire, slim tridens
occurred in abundance with other grasses [17]. In a study to reduce
shrub cover on a site invaded by redberry juniper, slim tridens showed
no significant difference in cover value in the first two growing
seasons after the shrub layer was chained then burned [28]. In other
words, slim tridens was neither damaged nor improved by the fire.
  • 17. Kittams, Walter H. 1973. Effect of fire on vegetation of the Chihuahuan Desert region. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, Texas. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 427-444. [6271]
  • 28. Steuter, Allen A.; Wright, Henry A. 1983. Spring burning effects on redberry juniper-mixed grass habitats. Journal of Range Management. 36(2): 161-164. [18716]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

A moderately hot fire will kill the aboveground portions of slim
tridens, but survival of the rhizomes is usually good. Extremely hot
fires will cause much more damage, especially among thin grasses not
well protected by the buildup of vegetative material [17].
  • 17. Kittams, Walter H. 1973. Effect of fire on vegetation of the Chihuahuan Desert region. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, Texas. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 427-444. [6271]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: ground residual colonizer, rhizome

Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fuel, fuel loading

Slim tridens perennates from rhizomes that are deep enough in the soil
to resist damage by all but the most extreme fires. The types of
habitats in which it occurs are not usually subject to such extreme
fires because the fuel loading is usually low, and sparse grasses are
often the main carriers of fire [17].
  • 17. Kittams, Walter H. 1973. Effect of fire on vegetation of the Chihuahuan Desert region. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, Texas. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 427-444. [6271]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: succession

Facultative Seral Species

In a study of secondary succession on plots denuded by mechanical
disturbance, Gehlbach [7] listed slim tridens as dominant in undisturbed
plots. It occurred on disturbed plots only after three growing seasons,
and it increased when cattle grazing was excluded from the site.
Conversely, other authors have listed it as an increaser on
cattle-grazed sites [3,20,23].
  • 3. Chew, Robert M. 1982. Changes in herbaceous and suffrutescent perennials in grazed and ungrazed desertified grassland in southeastern Arizona, 1958-1978. American Midland Naturalist. 108(1): 159-169. [4242]
  • 7. Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1979. Biomes of the Guadalupe Escarpment: vegetation, lizards, and human impact. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 427-439. [16024]
  • 20. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17553]
  • 23. McPherson, Guy R.; Wright, Henry A. 1990. Effects of cattle grazing and Juniperus pinchotii canopy cover on herb cover and production in western Texas. American Midland Naturalist. 123: 144-151. [11148]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: restoration, rhizome

Slim tridens perennates from a shallow rhizome. Vegetative reproduction
occurs through production of stolons [15]. Slim tridens also reproduces
by seed. Seed collected for restoration project seed mixes resulted in
a germination rate (without any attempt at stratification, etc.) of 19.8
percent after 14 days [30].
  • 15. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 30. Walther, Judith C.; Sexton, M. K.; Hill, Allison; Crank, E. 1991. Seed specifications and testing techniques for wild-harvested seed mixes (Texas). Restoration & Management Notes. 9(2): 108. [17574]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: geophyte

Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: warm-season

Slim tridens is a warm-season grass, beginning growth early in spring
(late March in New Mexico) and actively growing through the summer, but
with most growth in late spring. Two periods of flowering occur: from
April to May and then again September to October. Seed heads are formed
3 to 5 weeks later [1,15,16,24].
  • 1. Brown, David E. 1982. Semidesert grassland. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 123-131. [3603]
  • 15. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 16. Kemp, Paul R. 1983. Phenological patterns of Chihuahuan desert plants in relation to the timing of water availability. Journal of Ecology. 71: 427-436. [5054]
  • 24. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Tridens muticus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Tridens muticus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: importance value, shrub

In general, dryland range sites are easily degraded by overgrazing,
which decreases incidence of fire and allows woody species to invade
[1]. Steuter [28] reported that perennial grass production on sites
invaded by redberry juniper (Juniperus pinchotii) is less than half that
of sites that are controlled for shrub invasion. McPherson and Wright
[23] reported an inverse relationship between pinyon (Pinus spp.) or
juniper (Juniperus spp.) and herb production (as pinyon or juniper cover
increases, herb production decreases), and that in closed-canopy stands,
junipers can exclude all herbaceous vegetation. In a related study of
vegetative zonation around redberry juniper, slim tridens occurred at
least 3.4 feet (1 m) from the edge of the canopy [22].

Slim tridens is not usually a major component of grasslands but may
contribute up to 10 to 15 percent of the total production on some sites
[20]. Gehlbach [6,7] and Blydenstein [2] reported that slim tridens
increased in importance on study sites where grazing was excluded, which
is in contrast to reports that slim tridens increases in response to
grazing [3,20,23]. According to Leithead [20], abundance of slim
tridens indicates fair to poor range condition.

As a "warm-season", C4 grass, slim tridens has its highest rate of
carbohydrate storage during autumn; therefore defoliation in the fall
can contribute to winter-kill and cause loss of vigor during spring
regrowth. It is recommended that pastures or ranges with an abundance
of such grasses be grazed during the winter and spring [16,22].

Slim tridens is not considered a management species due to its scattered
distribution and low importance value [6,7,12,18,20].
  • 1. Brown, David E. 1982. Semidesert grassland. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 123-131. [3603]
  • 2. Blydenstein, John; Hungerford, C. Roger; Day, Gerald I.; Humphrey, R. 1957. Effect of domestic livestock exclusion on vegetation in the Sonoran Desert. Ecology. 38(3): 522-526. [4570]
  • 3. Chew, Robert M. 1982. Changes in herbaceous and suffrutescent perennials in grazed and ungrazed desertified grassland in southeastern Arizona, 1958-1978. American Midland Naturalist. 108(1): 159-169. [4242]
  • 6. Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1967. Vegetation of the Guadalupe Escarpment, New Mexico-Texas. Ecology. 48(3): 404-419. [5149]
  • 7. Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1979. Biomes of the Guadalupe Escarpment: vegetation, lizards, and human impact. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 427-439. [16024]
  • 12. Humphrey, Robert R. 1960. Forage production on Arizona ranges. V. Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz Counties. Bulletin 502. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 137 p. [4520]
  • 16. Kemp, Paul R. 1983. Phenological patterns of Chihuahuan desert plants in relation to the timing of water availability. Journal of Ecology. 71: 427-436. [5054]
  • 18. Kittams, Walter H.; Evans, Stanley L.; Cooke, Derrick C. 1979. Food habits of mule deer on foothills of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 403-426. [16023]
  • 20. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17553]
  • 22. McPherson, Guy R.; Rasmussen, G. Allen; Wester, David B.; Masters, Robert A. 1991. Vegetation and soil zonation associated with Juniperus pinchoth Sudw. trees. Great Basin Naturalist. 51(4): 316-324. [18105]
  • 23. McPherson, Guy R.; Wright, Henry A. 1990. Effects of cattle grazing and Juniperus pinchotii canopy cover on herb cover and production in western Texas. American Midland Naturalist. 123: 144-151. [11148]
  • 28. Steuter, Allen A.; Wright, Henry A. 1983. Spring burning effects on redberry juniper-mixed grass habitats. Journal of Range Management. 36(2): 161-164. [18716]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Please contact your local NRCS Field Office.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Although this grass makes up 10 to 15 percent of the total production on some sites, it is seldom considered a key management species because associated grasses are more palatable. It is an increaser on cattle ranges. Its abundance indicates fair to poor range condition.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Slim tridens is palatable and moderately nutritious. It is eaten by all
classes of livestock, mule deer and other herbivores, and collared
peccary but is too scattered and low in abundance to be an important
forage species [2,12,15,18,31]. Seeds are a source of food for rodents
and birds [20].
  • 31. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 2. Blydenstein, John; Hungerford, C. Roger; Day, Gerald I.; Humphrey, R. 1957. Effect of domestic livestock exclusion on vegetation in the Sonoran Desert. Ecology. 38(3): 522-526. [4570]
  • 12. Humphrey, Robert R. 1960. Forage production on Arizona ranges. V. Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz Counties. Bulletin 502. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 137 p. [4520]
  • 15. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 18. Kittams, Walter H.; Evans, Stanley L.; Cooke, Derrick C. 1979. Food habits of mule deer on foothills of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 403-426. [16023]
  • 20. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17553]

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Nutritional Value

Huston and others [13] reported the nutritional value of slim tridens as
follows:

Ash 7-12%
Phosphorus 0.09-0.30%
Protein 6-13%
Digestible
organic matter 36-57%

Fudge and Fraps reported similar levels for slim tridens (slender
triodia) [5].
  • 5. Fudge, J. F.; Fraps, G. S. 1945. The chemical composition of grasses of northwestern Texas as related to soils and to requirements for range cattle. Bulletin No. 669. [Place of pulication unknown]
  • 13. Huston, J. E.; Rector, B. S.; Merrill, L. B.; Engdahl, B. S. 1981. Nutritional value of range plants in the Edwards Plateau region of Texas. Report B-1375. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University System, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. 16 p. [4565]

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Uses

Cattle and horses graze slim tridens. Rodents and birds eat the seeds.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Tridens muticus

Tridens muticus is a species of grass known by the common name slim tridens. It is native to Mexico and the southwestern quadrant of the United States, where it grows several types of habitat, including plateau and desert, woodlands, sagebrush, plains, and other areas with dry sandy and clay soils.

It is a perennial grass forming a thick tuft with a knotted base and rhizome. It reaches a maximum height of 50 to 80 centimeters. The panicle has short branches appressed to the others, making the inflorescence narrow. The florets are generally purple in color.

This plant uses C4 carbon fixation as its method of energy metabolism.[1]

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The accepted scientific name for slim tridens is Tridens muticus (Torr.)
Nash. Recognized varieties are [9,11]:

Tridens muticus (Torr.) Nash var. elongatus (Buckl.) Shinners
Tridens muticus (Torr.) Nash var. muticus [9,11]
  • 9. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 11. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]

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Common Names

slim tridens

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Synonyms

Triodia mutica (Torr.)Scribn.

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