Agrostis stolonifera L.

creeping bentgrass

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Where native and non-native distributions co-occur in a county, only the native distribution is shown.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Creeping bentgrass is commonly thought to be native to Europe, Asia and North Africa and introduced to North America, but some evidence indicates that native populations may exist in North America. It is introduced throughout New England, where it grows in sites subject to seasonal or temporary flooding.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), brackish or salt marshes and flats, marshes, meadows and fields, shores of rivers or lakes, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
2–5 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
2–3.5 mm
Glume relative length
both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0–1 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
Leaf ligule length
0.7–7.5 mm
Anther length
0.9–1.4 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    0.9–1.4 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    1
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume keel
    • the glume keels are rough or hairy
    • the glume keels are smooth and hairless
    Glume relative length
    both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is V-shaped in cross-section
    Glume veins
    1
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch length
    2–6 cm
    Inflorescence branch roughness
    the inflorescence branches are somewhat to very rough
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence branches coming off the lowest stem node
    1–7
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very congested (crowded), and the branches may not be clearly seen without close inspection
    Inflorescence length
    30–200 mm
    Inflorescence length to width ratio
    3.3–6
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inflorescence width
    5–60 mm
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached at the upper half of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is straight or twisted, but not coiled one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    0–1 mm
    Lemma awn number
    • the lemma has no awn
    • the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma is straight
    Lemma base hair length
    Up to 0.5 mm
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma has hairs at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma keel hairs
    the keel of the lemma is hairless
    Lemma marginal vein hairs
    the marginal vein of the lemma is hairless
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma tip shape
    • the lemma tip tapers to a broad point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    • the lemma tip tapers to a narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    5
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma stay roughly parallel throughout
    Lower glume length
    1.6–3 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is nearly as long, or as long as, the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea length
    0.7–1.4 mm
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis length
    0 mm
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    Spikelet length
    2–3.5 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    0
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    0.3–3.3 mm
    Spikelet position
    the spikelets emerge from both the upper and lower halves of the inflorescence branches
    Spikelet shape
    the spikelets are lanceolate (lance-shaped, widest below the middle and tapering narrowly to the ends) in profile
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    1.6–3 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is more than one half as long as the lowest lemma
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed length
    0.9–1.3 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    yes
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Basal leaves
    the plant has few or no leaves coming from the base of the flowering stem
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf basal lobe hairy
    NA
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade is hairless, but it may have tiny prickles that give it a sand-papery feel
    Leaf blade length
    2–10 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    2–5 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.7–7.5 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the leaf sheath does not quite meet at the opposite side of the stem
    Leaf sheath hair type
    there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath hairs
    there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • brackish or salt marshes and flats
    • edges of wetlands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • marshes
    • meadows or fields
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    8–60 cm
    Roots at lower stem nodes
    • no
    • yes
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly to completely hairless
    Stem node number
    2–7
    Stem orientation
    the stems trail at the base, but turn upwards at the tips
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Agrostis capillaris:
ligules 0.5-2 mm long and panicle branches bearing flowers only in distal half (vs. A. stolonifera, with ligules 2-6 mm long and branches of panicle bearing flowers in distal and proximal halves). Agrostis gigantea: stems upright at base and inflorescence usually red-purple with spreading branches during flowering (vs. stems decumbent and inflorescence yellow-brown with ascending branches during flowering).

Synonyms

  • Agrostis alba L. var. palustris (Huds.) Pers.
  • Agrostis alba L. var. stolonifera (L.) Sm.
  • Agrostis palustris Huds.
  • Agrostis stolonifera var. compacta Hartman

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Agrostis

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

10.  Agrostis stolonifera L. E

creeping bentgrass. Agrostis alba L. var. palustris (Huds.) Pers.; A. alba L. var. stolonifera (L.) Sm.; A. palustris Huds.; A. stolonifera L. var. compacta Hartman • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Hydric or temporarily saturated soils of fields, inland and saline marshes, ditches, and shorelines. 
This species is often considered to be non-native to North American; however, some northern salt marsh and lakeside populations may be native (Harvey 2007).