Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains
63. Poaceae, the Grass Family
11. Echinochloa Beauv. -- Barnyardgrass
2. Echinochloa muricata (Beauv.) Fern.
Panicles green to purplish, sometimes strongly purple, usually oblong
or pyramidal; hairs of the panicle branches absent or shorter than the
spikelets (excluding awns, if present). Spikelets 2-3.5 mm long (excluding
awns); sterile lemma awnless or with an awn to 6(10) mm long; fertile
lemmas mostly ovate, the firm shiny apex narrowly acute or acuminate, gradually
tapering to the usually stiff beak, the lemma body and beak not separated by
a line of minute hairs (the beak itself commonly puberulent). Jul--Sep. Same
habitats as the preceding; very common; (Que. and N.B. to Alta. and WA, s to
FL, TX, CA and into Mex.). E. microstachya (Wieg.) Rydb.
Northern Great Plains representatives of E. muricata are referable
to var. microstachya Wieg., which differs from the typical variety
in having smaller spikelets with shorter awns. Several attempts to segregate
species and varieties within this polymorphic species have been made on the
basis of such characters as awn length and the presence or absence of papillose
hairs on the spikelets. Variability in these and other characters may be observed
within the same populations, thus rendering taxonomic recognition of these
variants meaningless. The lumping of E. muricata with E. crusgalli
by some authors has further added to the confusion.
Previous Section -- Echinochloa crusgalli (L.)
Return to Family -- Poaceae - The Grass
Next Section -- Eragrostis hypnoides (Lam.) B.S.P.
-- Teal lovegrass