Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Woolly Witchgrass - Dichanthelium scabriusculum   (Elliott) Gould & Clark
Members of Poaceae:
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(Elliott) Gould & Clark
DistributionCoastal Plain and Sandhills. Sight record in Anson County (lower Piedmont) is from a unique Piedmont wet pine flatwoods.

Coastal Plain, southeastern MA to northern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceCommon in the Coastal Plain, rare along the eastern edge of the Piedmont. The website editors suggest a State Rank of S4S5.
HabitatBlackwater streamheads and ecotones, openings in cypress-gum swamp forests, clearings in or through the above habitats; Piedmont wet pine flatwoods (Anson Co.).
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-October.
IdentificationThis is our tallest witchgrass, the stems regularly reaching 3-5 feet high. The leaf blades are 5-10 inches long and 7-15 mm wide. The inflorescences are 4-8 inches long; the spikelets are 2.2-2.8 mm long. It is very similar to D. cryptanthum, but it is larger in all respects, and not forming lazy or leaning patches of plants like that species.
Taxonomic CommentsNone, other than being named as Panicum scabriusculum in older references.

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".
Other Common Name(s)Woolly Rosette-grass, Tall-swamp Panicgrass
State RankS4? [S4S5]
Global RankG4 [G5]
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
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Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieWalthour Moss Foundation, margin of beaver pond, 2001. MoorePhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieAberdeen, Ray's Mill Creek, late May 2015. MoorePhoto_natural

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