Plant Guide > Grasses > Long Awned Wood Grass

Long Awned Wood Grass


Brachyelytrum erectum (Schreb.) Beauv.

The narrow brooks threading their way through woods and swamps are the haunts of many plants whose location makes them the more rare to the ordinary pedestrian.

Here, where the bladderwort hangs its tiny yellow sunbonnets far from travelled paths, and the wild calla unfolds pallid against the velvet mud, may be found the Long-awned Woodgrass growing luxuriantly on a dryer bank of the brookside.

The grass is distinctly graceful, and at first glance the slender, nodding panicle might suggest the flowering-head of a Brome-grass, but the form of the leaves separates the Longawned Wood-grass at once from that genus, while the one-flowered spikelets differ from the many-flowered spikelets of the Brome-grasses.

If the microscope is used it discloses the thread-like prolongation of rachilla lying against the palet which closely embraces the narrow seed. The slender stems bear a profusion of spreading leaves, and the whole plant has a slightly unpleasant odour.

Long-awned Wood-grass. Brachyelytrum erectum (Schreb.) Beauv.

Perennial from rootstocks.

Stem 1-4 ft. tall, slender, erect. Nodes and sheaths downy. Ligule less than 1" long. Leaves 2'-6' long, 3"-8" wide, rough above, downy on lower surface, tapering at both ends, flat.

Panicle 2'-7' long, narrow, slender, few-flowered, branches erect, 1'-4' long. Spikelets 1-flowered, narrow, 5"-6" long. Scales 3; outer scales small, unequal; 1st scale very minute; flowering scale 4"-6" long, 5-nerved, bearing a rough, terminal awn 9"-12" long. Rachilla prolonged and lying as a slender bristle in the groove of the palet. Stamens 2, anthers and stigmas long. Plant has faint unpleasant odour.

Open woods and moist grounds. June to August.

Newfoundland to Ontario and Minnesota, south to North Carolina and Missouri.