Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Marsh Bristlegrass - Setaria parviflora   (Poiret) Kerguelen
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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Author(Poiret) Kerguelen
DistributionThroughout the state, including the Outer Banks and barrier islands. Probably occurs in every county.

MA to IA, south to FL and TX; disjunct to CA and NV. W.I., Mex., C.A.
AbundanceFrequent to common throughout except in the Mountains, where fairly common.
HabitatMeadows, fresh to brackish marshes, maritime wet grasslands, wet interdune depressions, roadside ditches, low fields, damp disturbed areas.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late May-October.
IdentificationThe inflorescence of this common species looks ghostly due to the pale straw color of the bristles, almost whitish in color. The bristles are numerous (4-9 per spikelet) compared with 1-3 bristles per spikelet in Coastal Bristlegrass (S. corrugata). Like that species, the height of the stems is about 1-2 feet tall.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts often treated as S. geniculata.

The inflorescences of bristlegrasses look like bottlebrushes, due to the numerous bristles that stick out sideways or that angle upward. Two of our 3 native species are annuals; S. parviflora is perennial. When using keys, make sure to have mature fruiting plants and a dissecting scope to see such features as the surface texture on lemmas, number of bristles per spikelet, etc.
Other Common Name(s)Knotroot Bristlegrass, Bristly Foxtail, Knotroot Foxtail
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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