Wakefield Park grasses

Alan Ford led a workshop on grass ID at Wakefield Park for the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. Tips and reminders of some training that I took from Cris Fleming a couple of years ago. Grasses are sneaky hard to get into good focus with my happy snap camera, so most of my images remain on my hard drive.

Five gleanings:

  • Look for a bend in the awn to identify Indian Grass to species, Sorghastrum nutans.
  • When you see arundinacea or its derivatives in a species name, it’s a hint that the organism is large, with a reference to the large Bamboo Orchid, Arundina sp.
  • Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus var. virginicus) is an early colonizer. When you see it give way to Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) (purple sheaths alternating with green internodes), you’re dealing with a well-established meadow.
  • Leersia virginica is a lookalike for the invasive Japanese Stilt-grass (Microstegium vimineum). The stilt-grass pulls up out of the ground easily, but Leersia does not.
  • Look and feel for stiff horizontal hairs on the sheath of Deer-tongue Grass (Dicanthelium clandestinum). Some of the panic grasses have recently been moved into the genera Coleataenia and Dicanthelium (twice-flowering [each year]).

not so purple nowI did get an acceptable image of the jizz of the delicate open panicles of Purple Love Grass (Eragrostis spectabilis), a species that many people love and that I have trouble recognizing.