Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Grass Family (Poaceae). This plumegrass is a native, warm season, robust, perennial bunch grass. The average height is 4 to 7 feet. The leaf blade is wide and flat with strong midrib. The leaf sheath has few hairs, especially at upper end, and is shorter than internodes. The stem is large and rigid and 3/8 to 1/2 inches in diameter at base. The nodes are smooth or covered with short white hairs. Seedheads are open panicles, brownish at maturity with hairs as long as spikelets at its base. The glume has an awn 3/8 to 1/2 inched long spirally coiled at the base of the spikelet.

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Alternative names

Erianthus contortus, bent-awn plumegrass

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, 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 solid or spongy, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 2-6 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, 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 hairy at summit, throat, or collar, Leaf sheath and b lade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule a fringed, ciliate, or lobed membrane, 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 branches more than 10 to numerous, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets dorsally compressed or terete, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets with 2 florets, Spikelets paired at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets in paired units, 1 sessile, 1 pedicellate, Spikelets bisexual, Inflorescence disarticulating between nodes or joints of rachis, rachis fragmenting, Spikelets disarticulating below the glumes, Spikelets falling with parts of disarticulating rachis or pedicel, Inflorescence branches deciduous, falling intact, Spikelets conspicuously hairy , Rachilla or pedicel hairy, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glumes 1 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 1 nerved, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma apex dentate, 2-fid, Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn 1-2 cm long, Lemma awn 2-4 cm long or longer, Lemma awned from tip, Lemma awn twisted, spirally coiled at base, like a corkscrew, Lemma awn once geniculate, bent once, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Callus or base of lemma evidently hairy, Callus hairs shorter than lemma, Callus hairs equal to lemma, Stamens 2, 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 Erianthus smallii Nash
Catalog Number: US 102065
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. K. Small
Year Collected: 1894
Locality: Summit of Stone Mountain., De Kalb, Georgia, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 305 to 514
  • Isotype: Nash, G. V. 1900. Bull. New York Bot. Gard. 1: 429.
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Isotype for Erianthus contortus Elliott
Catalog Number: US 102056
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): -. Baldwin
Locality: Georgia, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Elliott, S. 1816. Sketch Bot. S. Carolina. 1: 40.
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Ecology

Dispersal

Establishment

New growth comes from auxillary buds at the basal nodes each year about April or May. It also reproduces from seed. It grows in large bunches 8 to 10 inches in diameter and the seedheads appear in September and October. It grows mostly on moist sandy to sandy loam soils high in natural fertility.

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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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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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Management

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

Please contact your local NRCS Field Office.

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This grass is easily overgrazed. A season long grazing deferment every 2 to 3 years maintains healthy, vigorous plants.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Cattle and horses graze this grass.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Treated as "Saccharum brevibarbe var. contortum" in the 1998 version of the unpublished Kartesz distribution data.

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