Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Shining Witchgrass - Dichanthelium dichotomum var. nitidum   (Lamarck) LeBlond
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Section 5 » Family Poaceae
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Author(Lamarck) LeBlond
DistributionMostly Coastal Plain, a few records in Piedmont and Mountains. The map is incomplete and reflects only UNC Chapel Hill specimens annotated by LeBlond.

NJ and PA to MO, south to southern FL and TX; Bahamas, W.I., Mex., C.A., Venez.
AbundanceRare in Mountains and Piedmont; frequent in Coastal Plain.
HabitatMoist soils along streams and rivers, savanna-pocosin ecotones, natural lake shores, marshes.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-October.
IdentificationThis is one of several relatives of D. dichotomum that differ in being taller (1-2.5 feet) and having hairy (bearded) lower stem nodes. It differs from D. dichotomum and D. microcarpon in having pubescent spikelets (vs. smooth); and from D. mattamuskeetense in glabrous lower leaf sheaths and leaf blades (vs. +- velvety pubescent).
Taxonomic CommentsA note about Dichanthelium: This genus is not impossible to identify to species! But it takes applied effort over a period of time in order to learn the various species and what their morphological limits are. We strongly recommend that you read the introduction to the treatment in Weakley et al. (2023), written by Richard LeBlond. LeBlond has made order out of near chaos, and his keys work very well for our plants. Most Dichanthelium taxa ("Dichs") do not grow everywhere indiscrimminately, but prefer certain well-defined habitats. Note that most species produce flowers/fruits twice a year -- a vernal period and an autumnal period -- and that measurements of spikelets and achenes are taken from vernal plants. Some species also have a third, or summer, period. In the vernal period there is a single inflorescence at the tip of the stem. In the autumnal period, plants produce elongate branches with bunched (congested) leaves and so look quite different from vernal plants. Inflorescences are produced in leaf axils as well as at the tips of branches. NOTE: Older texts had these species essentially all within the very large genus Panicum. "Dich" species are typically named as "Witchgrass" and Panicum species named as "Panicgrass".
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