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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

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.

GIF- Distribution Map

Map key

Previous Section -- Echinochloa crusgalli (L.) Beauv.
Return to Family -- Poaceae - The Grass Family
Next Section -- Eragrostis hypnoides (Lam.) B.S.P. -- Teal lovegrass

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