Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Compressed Plumegrass - Erianthus coarctatus   Fernald
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Erianthus with account distribution info or public map:
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DistributionMostly the southern 2/3 of the Coastal Plain. All specimens from the Piedmont need their identifications checked; most likely they are E. contortus.

Coastal Plain, DE to northern FL to eastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent in much of the southern Coastal Plain, but uncommon into the central Coastal Plain and edge of the Piedmont (if correctly identified there). The website editors give a State Rank of S4?.
HabitatFreshwater marshes, margins of streams, seepage bogs, wet pine savannas, powerlines, wet roadside ditches.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September-October.
IdentificationIn this species, the stems below the inflorescence are glabrous. The awn of the lemma of the upper floret is basally rounded in cross-section and not spiraled (vs. flattened basally and contorted in E. contortus and E. brevibarbis).
Taxonomic CommentsSome references merge or split this species and E. brevibarbis, or at least confuse the two. Many records in SERNEC are listed as E. brevibarbis var. coarctata, for example. Also, some references list the species as Saccharum coarctatum.

Plumegrasses are among our tallest grasses; several species reach 7-8 feet tall. The narrowly to broadly elliptical inflorescences stand erect well beyond the long, arching leaves. For proper ID, it is best to use mature spikelets. When immature, the inflorescences are tightly compact and slender; when mature, they relax and become elliptical in outline, and individual spikelets can be seen. Do not confuse these natives with the alien invasive Phragmites australis, which has much broader leaves and whose inflorescence branches are mostly swept to one side.
Other Common Name(s)Brown Plumegrass, Bunched Plumegrass
State Rank[S4?]
Global RankG5?
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