Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Woolly Witchgrass + - Dichanthelium acuminatum var. acuminatum   (Swartz) Gould & Clark
Members of Dichanthelium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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Author(Swartz) Gould & Clark
DistributionCoastal Plain and Piedmont; a few records scattered westward. Records are from UNC Chaple Hill herbarium only, specimens annotated by R. LeBlond.

Mostly Coastal Plain, MA to FL and TX; Latin America.
AbundanceUncommon, except rare in upper Piedmont and Mountains.
HabitatDry to moist sandy or clayey soils of pine-hardwoods, open woodlands, clearings, roadsides, powerlines. Will tolerate temporary inundation.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-October.
IdentificationWoolly Witchgrass grows about 1 foot tall (or less) and has abundant long soft hairs on leaves and stems. D. villosissimum may appear similar in the field, but has longer spikelets (2.1-2.5 mm vs. 1.6-1.9). Other varieties of this species are much less hairy.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts (and botanists' heads) Panicum auburne.

A note about Dichanthelium: This genus is not impossible to identify to species! But it takes applied effort over a period of time in order to learn the various species and what their morphological limits are. We strongly recommend that you read the introduction to the treatment in Weakley (2018), written by Richard LeBlond. LeBlond has made order out of near chaos, and his keys work very well for our plants. Most Dichanthelium taxa ("Dichs") do not grow everywhere indiscrimminately, but prefer certain well-defined habitats. Note that most species produce flowers/fruits twice a year -- a vernal period and an autumnal period -- and that measurements of spikelets and achenes are taken from vernal plants. Some species also have a third, or summer, period. In the vernal period there is a single inflorescence at the tip of the stem. In the autumnal period, plants produce elongate branches with bunched (congested) leaves and so look quite different from vernal plants. Inflorescences are produced in leaf axils as well as at the tips of branches. NOTE: Older texts had these species essentially all within the very large genus Panicum. "Dich" species are typically named as "Witchgrass" and Panicum species named as "Panicgrass".
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