Dichanthelium aciculare

Poaceae

A very common and widespread grass in the pine and prairie regions but easily overlooked because of its size. Today’s plant is Dichanthelium aciculare, a native herbaceous graminoid with more than 10 synonyms with the two most significant to me being Panicum aciculare and Dichanthelium angustifolium. Common name is appropriately needeleaf rosette grass. Like all members of this genus, it is a tufted perennial with a vernal or spring form that is unbranched with a distinct open panicle. The Fall form is branched with a few spikelets axillary in the leaves and the spring panicle devoid of spikelets. The leaves of this species are long and narrow. Spikelets 2-floreted, dorsally compressed, disarticulating below the glumes; 1st glume shorter than 2nd glume; 2nd glume and sterile lemma membranous, subequal; sterile palea scarious or absent; fertile lemma and palea indurate, smooth, glabrous, lustrous; fertile lemma margins, inrolled, clasping the palea; fertile palea margins inrolled, clasping the caryopsis. Caterpillars of the Tawny-edged Skipper are reported to eat this species.