(River Oats - Indian Wood Oats - Fish on a Pole -
Spangle Grass - Wild Oats - Broadleaf Uniola)
Chasmanthium latifolium, Syn: Uniola latifolia
Family: Poaceae (Grass)
This plant is an inland relative of sea-oats that naturally stabilize sand dunes along the east coast and Gulf of Mexico. Its preferred habitat is wetlands, flood zones, stream banks and low meadows. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The stem and leaf is upright, narrow and arching, alternate on the stem, lance-like, smooth (hairless) with rough margins.
Flowers occur in June to October, drooping panicles of dangling flat spikelet clusters in "V" shaped pairs, on thin flexible stems.
The long stalks on which the seed heads cluster are born bright green, turning light brownish-tan in autumn and usually persisting into the winter. It is these ornamental stalks that are gathered and dried for basket arrangements. New growth emerges from short rhizomes to form colonies.
The native range of River Oats is Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Illinois and Kansas, south to Florida and Texas. Formerly known as Uniola latifolia, this very attractive grass grows best in areas which are known to flood. The related Northern Sea Oats is also called River Oats, Inland Sea Oats, Wild Oats and Broadleaf Spike Grass.