Dichanthelium commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould

Ashe's variable rosette-panicgrass

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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

Ashe's variable rosette-panicgrass is native to southern and eastern North America, including New England, where it reaches the northeastern limit of its range. It grows in woodlands and sandy fields.

Habitat

Meadows and fields, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
Leaf blade width
5–10 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
2.2–3.2 mm
Glume relative length
  • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
  • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
  • there is more than one floret per spikelet
  • there is one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0 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
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther number
    0–3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is hard and firm
    Floret number
    1–2
    Floret types within spikelet
    • NA
    • there are at least two distinct forms of florets within one spikelet
    Glume relative length
    • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is flat or curved in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 3
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence length
    50–120 mm
    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
    Lemma awn base
    NA
    Lemma awn coiled
    NA
    Lemma awn length
    0 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has no awn
    Lemma awn orientation
    NA
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    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
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    One or more florets
    • there is more than one floret per spikelet
    • there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet length
    2.2–3.2 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Roots
    the plant has a root mass with a hardened top
  • 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 blade base
    the leaf blade cuts in abruptly to the narrower base, or has rounded lobes on either side of the base (heart-shaped)
    Leaf blade width
    5–10 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    Up to 0.5 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane with fine hairs
    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
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • meadows or fields
    • woodlands
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    • the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    • the stem nodes have hairs that stand out at a shallow angle, or they curve downwards
    Stem hairs
    the stem has hairs on it
    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
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

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

ssp. ashei

Massachusetts
fairly widespread (S-rank: S4)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Dichanthelium latifolium:
stems glabrous or shortly pilose, ligules 0.4-0.9 mm long, and spikelets 2.9-5.2 mm long (vs. D. commutatum, with stems densely crisp-puberulent, ligules up to 0.3 mm long, and spikelets 2.2-3.2 mm long).

Synonyms

  • Panicum ashei Pearson ex Ashe
  • Panicum commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould var. ashei (Pearson ex Ashe) Fern.
  • Panicum umbrosum Le Conte ex Torr.

Family

Poaceae

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our subspecies is Dichanthelium commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould ssp. ashei.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

5.  Dichanthelium commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould ssp. ashei (G. Pearson ex Ashe) Freckmann & Lelong N

Ashe’s variable rosette-panicgrass. Panicum ashei Pearson ex Ashe; P. commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould var. ashei (Pearson ex Ashe) Fern.; P. umbrosum Le Conte ex Torr. • CT, MA, RI; also reported from NH by Freckmann and Lelong (2003a), but specimens are unknown. Woodlands, openings, sandy fields. Dichanthelium commutatum was reported from ME by 
Gould and Clark (1978), but the seasonal development of the specimen is in contradiction 
with the collection date. The specimen is believed to be from much farther south and the result of a label mix-up (Robert Freckmann, personal communication). Reports of Dichanthelium commutatum ssp. commutatum from New England appear to be in error. Those specimens identified as such and seen by Robert Freckmann or me were misidentified.