Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pitted Jointgrass - Mnesithea cylindrica   (Michaux) de Koning & Sosef
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Section 5 » Family Poaceae
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Author(Michaux) de Koning & Sosef
DistributionSouthern lower Piedmont -- known only from Montgomery, Anson, and Union counties. Very local in NC, and recent county natural area surveys failed to find it. Last collected in Anson County in 1935, and in Union County in 1957. The Montgomery specimen, supposedly at SERNEC, was not found under any of 3 genus names in Jan 2023. However, on 7 June 2023 it was rediscovered in Anson County by Becky Dill and Bruce Sorrie in an area notable for its "prairie" species and rare plants. Soon after, a second and much larger population was found by Dill at an Anson County park in similarly mafic soil conditions in a powerline.

Primarily west of the Mississippi River of MO-KS-TX-LA; scattered records to southern FL and NC.
AbundanceVery rare but extant; now should be ranked S1 rather than SH. Anson County populations have up to 400 plants.
HabitatNC specimens were collected from roadsides in areas that may at one time have been prairie-like openings. They were collected from mafic soils associated with the Triassic Basin. Likewise, the 2023 Anson County populations occur in mafic, seasonally or intermittently moist, shrink-swell soil under a powerline, almost all plants in association with Tripsacum dactyloides and Isolepis carinata and exposed brown rocks.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting early June-August. Plants on 7 June 2023 were in flower, the feathery stigmas white and the anthers maroon.
IdentificationThe plants can be tall (3-5 feet), but the 2023 Anson plants only 2-3 feet), with long-tapering leaves and several long linear inflorescences. In overall gestalt, M. cylindrica looks like a slender leaf, slender inflorescence, runt Tripsacum. The spikelets are tightly crowded one atop another and form a slender cylinder, with the male section above the female section--just like Tripsacum. Each spikelet has a number of little pits (in vertical rows) on the glumes--a sure and positive way to distinguish from Tripsacum.
Taxonomic CommentsPreviously placed in Manisuris or Coelorachis.

Other Common Name(s)Carolina Jointgrass, Cylinder Jointgrass, Cylinder Jointtail, and several others
State RankS1
Global RankG4G5
State StatusSR
US Status
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B.A. SorrieSame data. Midstem. AnsonPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSame data. Inflorescences. AnsonPhoto_natural
B.A. SorriePowerline near Pleasant Grove Church Road, mafic soil with brown rocks, 7 June 2023. AnsonPhoto_natural
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