Plant Guide > Grasses > White Grass

White Grass


Both White-grass (Leersia virginica) and Rice Cut-grass bloom in late summer in wet places, where the stems, branching abundantly, bear panicles of green or whitish-green blossoms. Rice Cut-grass is the stouter species and bears larger panicles, while enclosed in the lower sheaths cleistogamous blossoms may often be found.

In White-grass the few branches of the panicles spread stiffly and bear comparatively few spikelets, while the leaves are shorter, broader, and less rough than are those of the larger species.

It is said that the leaves of certain species of the genus are sensitive in the same manner as are the leaves of the sensitive plant. One species, known as Catch-fly Grass (Leersia lenticularis) bears wide spikelets armed with strong bristles.

Of this grass and its blossoms, Pursh, an early botanist, writes: "Found on islands of Roanoke River, N. C., and observed it catching flies in same manner as Dionaea muscipula (Venus's Fly-trap)."

The scales certainly look as if they might close like steel-traps and imprison insects, but as the most modern text-books say nothing of this habit his record may remain as an "evidence of things not seen" by less fortunate botanists of later times.