Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sideoats Grama - Bouteloua curtipendula   (Michaux) Torrey
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
Author(Michaux) Torrey
DistributionSouthern Mountains only. Discovered for the first time in NC in Swain County in 2009 by David Campbell.

Southwestern CT to MT, south to northwestern GA, TX, and CA; disjunct in northwestern FL.
AbundanceVery rare and not likely to be found in many more NC counties, as it has specialized habitats that are very rare in NC. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatIn the Midwest it is a species of chalk or limestone prairies. In NC, it occurs only at a very rich, rocky cove forest, underlain by marble (calcareous material).
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-September.
IdentificationThe leaves are mostly basal, about a foot long, and form a tuft. The flowering stems typically grow 1.5-2.5 feet tall. It is virtually unmistakable in its inflorescence: a vertical row of small spikelets, each of which is oriented 90 degrees from the stem (or slightly dangling down at an angle), and thus appearing like tiny semaphore flags.
Taxonomic CommentsA second variety occurs in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State Status[SR-P]
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