Silver Plume Grass
Saccharum alopecuroides (Linnaeus) Nuttall
Poaceae (Grass) Family

 

Silver Plume Grass can be found throughout Alabama, occurring in pine woodlands, in mixed pine/hardwood forest openings, along woodland edges, and along utility corridors. It usually occurs on xeric to mesic sites, unlike many other members of the genus that occur in wet areas. It is a perennial with a hardened base and short scaly rhizomes. Stems are 3-9 feet in height and unbranched. The stems are hollow and green or purplish in color; usually glabrous except just below the inflorescence.

The leaves are basal and cauline. The stem leaves are alternate, linear in outline, scaberulous (slightly rough to the touch), with entire margins. The leaf sheath is glabrous. The ligule (membranous scale on the inner side of the leaf sheath at its junction with the blade) is hairy.

Flowers are produced in a terminal panicle. The peduncle is pubescent with appressed hairs. Spikelets occur in pairs. The spikelets have a long awn that is flattened at the base and spirally twisted. The spikelets are pubescent and the callus hairs (beard) exceed the length of the spikelet. The callus hairs are white or tawny in color.

The fruit is a grain.

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