Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Thin Paspalum + - Paspalum setaceum var. muhlenbergii   (Nash) Fernald
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Section 5 » Family Poaceae
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Author(Nash) Fernald
DistributionAcross the state, but with a large gap in the southern Coastal Plain. Additional collecting is likely to fill that gap in.

NH to southern Ont. and IA, south to northern FL and central TX.
AbundanceFrequent in Mountains and Piedmont; uncommon in Coastal Plain. This is the variety most likely to be found by botanists in the western half of the state.
HabitatDry sandy or gravelly soil of woodlands, openings, roadsides, disturbed areas.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-September.
IdentificationPlants in the P. setaceum group usually grow 1.5-2.5 feet tall, with several well-spaced stem leaves and several +- crowded basal leaves. This variety features hairy leaf surfaces and margins. It is the most widespread variety in NC, along with var. ciliatifolium.
Taxonomic CommentsPaspalum 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.
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Global RankG5TNR
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