Culms 20-50 cm; internodes often lustrous, glabrous
or sparsely papillose-hispid (rarely puberulent). Cauline sheaths often
lustrous, glabrous or sparsely papillose-hispid (rarely puberulent); ligules
1-1.5 mm; blades usually 6-15 mm wide, less than 10 times longer
than wide, flat, ascending to spreading, glabrous or sparsely pubescent
abaxially, acute. Primary panicles denser than in subsp. oligosanthes,
branches more flexible; pedicels mostly shorter than 5 mm. Spikelets usually
2.7-3.5 mm long, 2-2.4 mm wide, broadly obovoid-ellipsoid, usually glabrous.
Upper glumes with a prominent orange to purplish spot at the base.
Dichanthelium oligosanthes subsp. scribnerianum grows in sandy
or clayey banks and prairies. Its range extends from southern British Columbia
to the east coast of the United States, and south into northern Mexico. It is
the most widespread of the two varieties.
Perennial herb, tufted 20 cm - 0.5 m tall Inflorescence: a terminal, branched arrangement of spikelets (panicle). Primary panicles atop the culms, 5 - 9 cm long, 3 - 6 cm wide, partially enclosed to well-exserted, with six to sixty spikelets. Secondary panicles (when present) atop the branches. Fruit: a caryopsis, indehiscent, enclosed within the persistent lemma and palea. Culm: stiffly upright but knee-like basally, often purplish, shiny, 20 cm - 0.5 m long, round in cross-section, hollow, sometimes with a few bumpy-based hairs. Nodes sometimes sparsely hairy. Fall phase branching from the mid-culm nodes, rebranching and forming short clumps of leaf blades and small secondary panicles. Spikelets: 2.5 - 3.5 mm long, 2 - 2.5 mm wide, broadly ellipsoid to broadly reverse egg-shaped, swollen. Basal leaves: in a rosette. Blades few, 2 - 6 cm long, egg-shaped to lance-shaped, distinct from stem blades. Stem leaves: five to seven, alternate, two-ranked. Sheaths not overlapping, shiny, sometimes with a few bumpy-based hairs, fringed with hairs. Ligules 1 - 1.5 mm long, composed of hairs. Blades spreading to ascending, less than ten times longer than wide, 6 - 15 mm wide, lance-shaped with a rounded to truncate (cut straight across) base and pointed tip, flat, parallel-veined, sometimes sparsely hairy beneath, fringed with bumpy-based hairs basally. Glumes:: Lower glumes 1 - 1.5 mm long, pointed at the apex, strongly veined, similar in texture to upper glumes. Upper glumes strongly veined, with a prominent orange or purplish spot basally. Lemmas:: Lower lemmas similar to upper glumes. Upper lemmas longitudinally lined, shiny, with rolled-up margins above. Paleas:: Lower paleas shorter than lower lemmas, thin. Upper paleas longitudinally lined. Florets:: Lower florets sterile. Upper florets bisexual, stalkless, with a minute protuberance at the apex, plump. Anthers three. Stigmas red.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: late May to early July
Habitat and ecology: Very common in sandy prairies. It is also found in prairies with black soil.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Etymology: Dichanthelium comes from the Greek words di, meaning twice, and anth, meaning flowering, referring to plants that may have two flowering periods. Oligosanthes means few-flowered. Scribnerianum is named in honor of Frank Lamson-Scribner (1851-1938).
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Rather frequent in the lake area where it is found in very sandy, dry soil on open dunes and sand hills and sometimes in rather dry, gravelly soil. Our specimens from the western part of the state are from sand dunes and sandy knolls.