Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Dryland White Bluestem - Andropogon capillipes   Nash
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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AuthorNash
DistributionSouthern outer Coastal Plain only; known from just 5 counties, north to Onslow County.

NC to southern FL to southern AL.
AbundanceUncommon to infrequent, and probably overlooked; some specimens are probably actually other species, such as the recently split out A. dealbatus. The website editors suggest a State Rank of S3?, for now.
HabitatDry to mesic pine flatwoods, sandhills, roadsides, powerlines. The habitat for this species are quite widespread, and thus the relative scarcity of records may suggest under-collecting.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September-October.
IdentificationThis is one of several NC bluestems with glaucous (chalky white or bluish white) stems and leaves. It is very similar to A. dealbatus, which has been split off in recent years. A. capillipes differs in its drier habitats, shorter spikelets (mostly 3.2-3.5 mm long vs. mostly 3.5-3.9 mm long), and narrower leaves (averaging 3.5 mm wide vs. 5.0 mm wide in A. dealbatus).
Taxonomic CommentsNote that A. dealbatus has been split off from A. capillipes in recent years. Prior to that, A. capillipes was included within the very "large" A. virginicus, which most botanists knew was comprised of more than a single species.

While the genus Andropogon is quite easy to recognize in the field, ID of species is not so easy and there are no shortcuts. Readers are strongly advised to read the introductory paragraphs in Weakley (2018) and to use his key. Once one has successfully keyed out several species, or compared collections with verified specimens, one can learn to recognize them in the field.
Other Common Name(s)Chalky Bluestem (also used for A. cretaceus)
State Rank[S3?]
Global RankG4G5Q
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