Aristida dichotoma Michx.

churchmouse threeawn

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Churchmouse threeawn favors sterile sandy soils of fields, roadsides and disturbed areas. It is native to eastern and southern North America, as well as New England.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), grassland, meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
1–2 mm
Inflorescence branches
  • the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
  • there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
Spikelet length
4–10 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
1–8 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
  • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
  • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
Leaf ligule length
Up to 0.5 mm
Anther length
2–3 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    2–3 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is hard and firm
    Floret number
    1
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume relative length
    both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    Glume veins
    1
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch length
    1–2 cm
    Inflorescence branches
    • the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    • there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence length
    20–110 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    • the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    • the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    • the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
    • the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inflorescence width
    Up to 10 mm
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached right at the tip of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is coiled at least one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    1–8 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has more than one awn on it
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma has hairs at the base
    Lemma base length
    0.3–0.5 mm
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma keel hairs
    the keel of the lemma is rough, or has fine hairs
    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 vein number
    3
    Lower glume length
    3–10 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    • the lower glume is one third or less as long as the upper glume
    • the lower glume is one third to three quarters as long as the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    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
    4–10 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    0
    Spikelet pedicel
    • the spikelets do not have pedicels
    • the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    1–2
    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
    4–13 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is more than one half as long as the lowest lemma
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed length
    2–9 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    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
    • the leaf blade is hairy
    Leaf blade length
    3–10 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    1–2 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    Up to 0.5 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of fine hairs
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hair type
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath hairs
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • grasslands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    15–16 cm
    Stem orientation
    • the stems are upright
    • 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 non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

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)

var. dichotoma

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Aristida basiramea:
central awn 10-15 mm long and lateral awns 5-10 mm long, usually divergent from near the base (vs. A. dichotoma, with central awn 3-8 mm long and lateral awns 1-4 mm long, straight, and erect).

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Aristida

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Aristida dichotoma Michx. var. dichotoma N

churchmouse threeawn. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Sandy, often sterile, soils of fields, grasslands, roadsides, and disturbed areas.