Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Torpedo Grass - Panicum repens   L.
Members of Panicum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionVerified only from New Hanover County, so far collected from 3 different places, including Carolina Beach State Park and along the road to Eagle Island. First found in 1969 in ballast near the old US 17 bridge over the Northeast Cape Fear River by Leonard and Hackney. A specimen from Brunswick County appears to be misidentified, as it lacks creeping stem/rhizomes, and the leaves are too short.

Pantropical, in N.A. on the Gulf Coastal Plain. Several inland and more northern records are waifs or adventives.
AbundanceVery rare and local.
Habitat"wet brackish soil along road to Eagle Island"; sandy ballast near old US 17 bridge; Carolina Vegetation Survey plot at Carolina Beach SP in red cedar--live oak--palmetto woodland.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late August-October.
IdentificationThis species grows from a creeping stem and rhizomes that root at nodes. The plant is bluish green (glaucescent). It does send up an erect inflorescence, a rather conical/triangular panicle.
Taxonomic CommentsThe genus Panicum in the broad sense was once very large, but with the split of Dichanthelium in the 1980s, it has been reduced to manageable size. In more recent decades, other genera have been split off: Coleataenia, Hymenachne, Kellochloa, and Phanopyrum, as examples. All 6 of these genera can be readily told from each other in the field with just a hand lens. For a more detailed discussion, see the introductory paragraphs in Weakley (2018).
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State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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