Danthonia spicata (L.) Beauv. ex Roemer & J.A. Schultes

poverty grass, poverty oatgrass

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Both the current basal leaves and dried old basal leaves of poverty oatgrass are curly and form distinctive tufts.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), cliffs, balds, or ledges, grassland, meadows and fields, mountain summits and plateaus, talus and rocky slopes, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
0.8–4 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
7–15 mm
Glume relative length
  • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
  • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
5–8 mm
Leaf ligule length
0.2–1 mm
Anther length
Up to 2.5 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    Up to 2.5 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume keel
    • the glume keels are rough or hairy
    • the glume keels are smooth and hairless
    Glume relative length
    • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is V-shaped in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 3
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch roughness
    the inflorescence branches are somewhat to very rough
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very spread out, with clearly-evident branches
    Inflorescence length
    20–50 mm
    Inflorescence length to width ratio
    4–5
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inflorescence width
    5–10 mm
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached right at the tip of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is coiled at least one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    5–8 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma on dried or older plants is curved or bent outwards
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma has hairs at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    • the lemma has fine hairs between the veins
    • the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma marginal vein hairs
    the marginal vein of the lemma has fine hairs on it
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is split into two or more points
    Lemma tip shape
    • the lemma tip tapers to a long narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    • the lemma tip tapers to a narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    7 or more
    Lower glume length
    9–15 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is nearly as long, or as long as, the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea length
    2.5–3 mm
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is an extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    • the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    • the spikelet breaks off below the glumes
    Spikelet length
    7–15 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    0
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    1–3
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    9–15 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is more than one half as long as the lowest lemma
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed length
    1.5–2.3 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Basal leaves
    the plant has large or prominent tufts of leaves at the base of the flowering stem
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf basal lobe hairy
    NA
    Leaf blade cross-section
    • the leaf blade is clearly folded or rolled inwards
    • the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    • the leaf blade is hairless, but it may have tiny prickles that give it a sand-papery feel
    • the leaf blade is hairy
    Leaf blade length
    6–20 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    0.8–4 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.2–1 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of fine hairs
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hairs
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • grasslands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • mountain summits and plateaus
    • talus or rocky slopes
    • woodlands
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    7–100 cm
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly to completely hairless
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts
    Stem thickness at base
    0.5–1.5 mm

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Danthonia compressa:
leaf blades flat, usually not curling later in season and inflorescence 5-10 cm tall with spreading branches (vs. D. spicata, with leaf blades involute, usually curling later in season and inflorescence 2-5 cm tall with upright branches).

Synonyms

  • Danthonia spicata var. longipila Scribn. & Merr.
  • Danthonia spicata var. pinetorum Piper

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Danthonia

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