Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Dichanthelium commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould
- Family: Grass (Gramineae)
- Flowering: May-September
- Field Marks: This witchgrass differs from all other species of Dichanthelium that have
leaves about one inch wide by its short-hairy spikelets about 1/10 inch long, its extremely
ligules, and the absence of swollen-based hairs on the leaf sheaths.
- Habitat: Mostly dry woods, clearings, less commonly in swamps.
- Habit: Perennial herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Upright, unbranched, up to 2 feet tall, smooth or soft-hairy, green to purplish.
- Leaves: Elongated, flat, up to 1 1/4 inches wide, smooth or short-hairy, ciliate near base;
sheaths smooth or short-hairy; ligule about 1/20 inch long.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets in panicles up to 6 inches long; spikelets 1-flowered, oblongoid,
more or less rounded at the tip, about 1/10 inch long, short-hairy.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, smooth.
- Fruits: Ellipsoid, with a minute point at the tip.
- Notes: Gleason and Cronquist call this species Panicum commutatum in the Poaceae.
This grass has different vernal and autumnal phases. The vernal phase is described above.
The autumnal phase has its primary panicle usually deciduous, and the much branched stem
gives the plant a bushy appearance.
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