Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Nerved Witchgrass - Dichanthelium neuranthum   (Grisebach) LeBlond
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Dichanthelium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Family Poaceae
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Author(Grisebach) LeBlond
DistributionMostly Outer Banks and barrier islands; also adjacent mainland of Carteret and New Hanover counties. Disjunct inland at Mineral Springs Barrens and several nearby sites in Union County. The inland records need additional scrutiny; they may be D. ovinum, a Midwestern prairie and barrens species. The map reflects only those specimens annotated by LeBlond at UNC Chapel Hill.

Coastal Plain, eastern NC to southern FL amd southeastern LA; Bahamas, Cuba, Belize. Reports from western LA and eastern TX need critical ID, as they may be the closely related D. ovinum.
AbundanceRare, but individuals at sites vary from uncommon to fairly common. The NCNHP database has 16 records, most still extant. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatMaritime wet grasslands; openings within Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica) -- pine mafic barrens (Union County).
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-November.
IdentificationThis distinctive grass grows 1-2 feet tall, with narrow leaves and a narrow inflorescence (branches erect or strongly ascending). The stems are sparsely pubescent or glabrous. This combination separates it from other relatives in the D. aciculare complex: D. aciculare, D. arenicoloides, D. fusiforme, and D. angustifolium. Autumnal plants produce fascicles of short leaves and short panicles.
Taxonomic CommentsSome authors treat it as a variety or subspecies of D. aciculare.

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 et al. (2023), 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)None
State RankS1S2
Global RankG3
State StatusSR-D
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieUnion County, 2010, dry-mesic powerline through mafic woodland. UnionPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieDare County, 2012, wet maritime grassland between Avon and Salvo.
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