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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

63. Poaceae, the Grass Family

9. Deschampsia Beauv. -- Hairgrass

1. Deschampsia cespitosa (L.) Beauv. -- Tufted hairgrass


Tufted perennial 3-10 dm tall; culms stiff, erect, 1-3 mm thick. Leaves mostly basal, the blades usually not reaching the panicle, flat or involute, 2-3 mm wide, scabrous on the upper side; sheaths glabrous, the ligule white-hyaline, elongate, 2-6 mm long. Panicle contracted to open, 1-4 dm long, the filiform branches strongly ascending to loosely spreading, flowered toward the tips. Spikelets 2-flowered, purplish and fading to pale with age, 3-4(5) mm long, disarticulating above the glumes, the rachilla short-hairy, prolonged beyond the second floret; glumes acute, 2-4 mm long, subequal, the second somewhat longer than the first, 1-nerved or the second obscurely 3-nerved; lemmas 2- to 4-toothed at the apex, 2-3 mm long, the upper smaller than the lower, scarious, appearing nerveless, awned from near the base on the back, the awn surpassing the apex of the lemma or shorter, the callus short-hairy; palea acute, scarious; anthers 1-1.6 mm long. Grain brown, ellipsoid to pyriform, 1-1.5 mm long; Late Jun--Aug. Fresh wet meadows, boggy areas, springs and stream banks; occasional in the n and the Black Hills; (Greenl. to AK, s to NJ, NC, OH, IL, MN, ND, Black Hills of SD, NM, AZ and CA; also Eurasia).
GIF- Species Photo/Drawing
Deschampsia cespitosa (from Hitchcock 1950).
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Section -- Cinna latifolia (Trev. ex Goepp.) Griseb. -- Drooping woodreed
Return to Family -- Poaceae - The Grass Family
Next Section -- Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene -- Saltgrass

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