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Aristida dichotoma

Aristida dichotoma Michx.

 

Poverty Grass, Churchmouse Threeawn, Shinners’ Three-awned Grass

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCyperalesFlowering plants including grasses
FamilyPoaceaeGrasses (but not sedges or rushes)
GenusAristidaLatin arista, “awn,” for the bristly appendage at the tip or dorsal surface of a grass floret’s lemma
SpeciesdichotomaForked in pairs, repeatedly dividing into pairs of branches

About plant names...

Poverty grass is native to much of North America. Aristida is from the Latin arista, ”awn” or “beard,” a reference to tiny beardlike tufts; dichotoma means “forked in pairs.”

Identification: Poverty grass is a bunchgrass that prefers dry, open, often sandy soil. It is branched near the base, 8-16" (20-40 cm) tall, with short blades about ¹/₃₂" (1 mm) wide. It has two glumes ⅛-¼" (6-8 mm) long, like miniature corn husks that enclose a central lemma that is ~³/₁₆" (5-6 mm) long. The lemma is topped by an awn, a pointy spike that is coiled at the base and turned at a right angle. There are two more little awns, ¹/₃₂" (1 mm) long.

Online References:

Aristida dichotoma on www.eeob.iastate.edu

Aristida dichotoma at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Aristida dichotoma on the USDA Plants Database

Aristida dichotoma on luirig.altervista.org

References:

Hitchcock, Albert Spear; revised by Chase, Agnes, Manual of the Grasses of the United States, Volume 1, Dover Books, 1971, p. 467

Aristida dichotoma (Poverty Grass, Churchmouse Threeawn, Shinners’ Three-awned Grass)

9/5/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm) ID is uncertain

Aristida dichotoma (Poverty Grass, Churchmouse Threeawn, Shinners’ Three-awned Grass)

8/20/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 2 × 3" (5.8 × 7.8 cm) ID is uncertain

Aristida dichotoma description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Aristida dichotoma (Poverty Grass, Churchmouse Threeawn, Shinners’ Three-awned Grass)

11/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm) ID is uncertain

Aristida dichotoma (Poverty Grass, Churchmouse Threeawn, Shinners’ Three-awned Grass)

11/7/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m) ID is uncertain

Aristida dichotoma (Poverty Grass, Churchmouse Threeawn, Shinners’ Three-awned Grass)

8/20/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

About this map...