Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Winter Bentgrass - Agrostis hyemalis   (Walter) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
Members of Agrostis with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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Author(Walter) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
DistributionThroughout the state; rare on the Outer Banks (a 1933 specimen from Kitty Hawk in Dare County). Probably occurs in every county.

ME to WI south to FL and TX.
AbundanceFrequent to common throughout the state. Seemingly somewhat less numerous in the foothills.
HabitatDry to moist fields, meadows, roadsides, powerlines, along railroads, waste ground.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting March-June (July).
IdentificationIn the spring, dense populations of this species cast a pale rosy tint. The broad and open inflorescence is about half the entire height of the plant. From A. elliottiana, it differs in having 3 anthers (vs. 1), is perennial (vs. annual), and has lemmas without awns (vs. awns 4-10 mm long). It is very similar to A. scabra, but it flowers earlier (March-June vs. June-October in that species), and usually inhabits drier soils.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Bentgrasses, genus Agrostis, in NC are usually densely cespitose (many stems and basal leaves from a central area). Most leaves are basal, rather short, and slender, often folded lengthwise or involute (rounded in cross-section). Stem leaves are few in number. The inflorescence is open and airy or wispy, with 2-several branches from well-spaced nodes; towards their ends, these branches are again branched and support the spikelets. Spikelets each contain only a single floret, with 2 glumes (outer scale-like bodies) and one lemma (inner scale-like body) and a central fruit or seed. Glumes and lemmas are sharp pointed. Lemmas may or may not have a projecting awn. In grasses, the fruit is called a caryopsis or a grain; it is composed of the seed and a tightly fitting envelope (or pericarp).
Other Common Name(s)Ticklegrass -- so named because the fine inflorescences tickle the skin as one walks through.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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