Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Field Crowngrass - Paspalum laeve   Michaux
Members of Paspalum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
DistributionThroughout the state, including the Outer Banks.

MA to MI and KS, south to southern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceFrequent to common. Common across the Piedmont and most of the Coastal Plain, slightly less numerous in the mountains. The State Rank and Global Rank should be S5 and G5, respectively.
HabitatMoist to dry fields, meadows, forest openings, clearings, roadsides, disturbed areas. Its true natural habitat in NC is not known with certainty.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-September.
IdentificationField Crowngrass is one of only a few NC species whose spikelets are arranged singly along the branches, rather than in pairs and without a second spikelet stalklet. P. dissectum also has single spikelets, but it grows in wet to seasonally inundated habitats.
Taxonomic CommentsSome authors recognize var. circulare. However, specimens from NC at all herbaria need careful identification before meaningful distributions can be made.

Paspalum is a genus of more than 300 species, found mostly in the New World. The genus is quite easily identified by the neat row of spikelets along each side of a flattened rachis (inflorescence branch), and also by the hemispherical outline of each spikelet. In some species there are only 2 such inflorescence branches, paired at the stem summit; in most of our species there are 3-4 branches; and in a few there may be many. Keys ask whether spikelets are paired or not -- that is, at each node on each side of the rachis there are pairs of spikelets on tiny stalklets. Care must be taken with a hand lens to make sure there are 2 stalklets at each node, as frequently one of the two spikelets will not grow. Non-paired or single spikelets will clearly have only a single stalklet per node.
Other Common Name(s)Field Paspalum. The website editors prefer not to use a genus name (i.e., Paspalum) as a group common name, if an alternate and descriptive group name (i.e., Crowngrass) is available.
State Rank[S5]
Global RankG4G5 [G5]
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