Cynosurus cristatus L.

crested dogtail grass

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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

Crested dogtail grass is a Eurasian perennial, widely introduced elsewhere, including eastern and western North America. It can be found in all New England states in roadsides and other disturbed sites. This species is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental grass, and it is also used in revegetation projects.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
0.5–4.3 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
3–7 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
  • the glume has an awn
  • the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0–3 mm
Leaf ligule length
0.5–2.5 mm
Anther length
1.8–3 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.8–3 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    • the glume has an awn
    • the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    • the lemma is hard and firm
    • the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    2–18
    Floret types within spikelet
    there are at least two distinct forms of florets within one spikelet
    Glume awn length
    At least 0 mm
    Glume keel
    the glume keels are rough or hairy
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as 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 arched or curved outward
    • the inflorescence axis is straight
    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
    • there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence crowding
    • the panicle is somewhat to very congested (crowded), and the branches may not be clearly seen without close inspection
    • the panicle is somewhat to very spread out, with clearly-evident branches
    Inflorescence length
    10–140 mm
    Inflorescence length to width ratio
    2.5–14
    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 branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inflorescence width
    4–10 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 straight or twisted, but not coiled one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    0–3 mm
    Lemma awn number
    • the lemma has no awn
    • the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma base hair length
    0 mm
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma is hairless or feels just a tiny bit rough at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    • the lemma is V-shaped if you cut across the midpoint
    • the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma keel hairs
    • NA
    • 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 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 long narrow 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
    Lower glume length
    2.5–6 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 more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea length
    3–4 mm
    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 an 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
    3–7 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    Up to 0
    Spikelet pedicel
    • the spikelets do not have pedicels
    • the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    At least 0 mm
    Spikelet shape
    • the spikelets are obovate (egg-shaped but with the widest point above the middle) in profile
    • the spikelets are ovate (egg-shaped, widest below the middle with rounded ends) in profile
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    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
    2.5–6 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
  • Growth form
    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 large or prominent tufts of leaves at the base of the flowering stem
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf basal lobe hairy
    NA
    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
    3–19 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    • the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    • the leaf blade is smooth, or it may have soft hairs
    Leaf blade width
    0.5–4.3 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.5–2.5 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    • the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    • the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane with 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 hairs
    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
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    5–24 cm
    Roots at lower stem nodes
    no
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly to completely hairless
    Stem node number
    1–3
    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

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

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
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)

Native to North America?

No

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Cynosurus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Cynosurus cristatus L. E

crested dogtail grass. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Roadsides, waste places, disturbed soil.