Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.

centipede 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

Centipede grass is a rare visitor to New England, having been collected only in Massachusetts, where it is very distantly separated from more common populations in the southeastern U.S. This exotic, perennial grass was introduced from China. It may get its common name from its prostrate, creeping growth form, or its long, sinuous inflorescences that appear segmented, like a centipede. Tolerant of high temperatures, and with a tendency to form turf, this grass has been planted widely to reclaim bare soils.

Habitat

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

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Massachusetts
Leaf blade width
1–5 mm
Inflorescence branches
there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
Spikelet length
2.2–4 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 mm
Leaf ligule length
0.2–5 mm
Anther length
1.8–2 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.8–2 mm
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume relative length
    both glumes are as long or longer than 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 plant has two types of spikelets with different reproductive structures
    • the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis hairs
    the inflorescence axis is smooth and has no hairs
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    • the inflorescence axis is arched or curved outward
    • the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence crowding
    NA
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence has pairs (or trios) of spikelets, but with one always either missing a stalk or on a shorter stalk than the other
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    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
    0
    One or more florets
    there is one floret per spikelet
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    the spikelet breaks off below the glumes
    Spikelet length
    2.2–4 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    1–2
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    0
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    yes
  • Leaves
    Leaf blade width
    1–5 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.2–5 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 hairs
    there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    10–35 cm
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow singly or a few together (they may form diffuse colonies)

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

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

Microstegium vimineum:
plants annual, straggling, often rooting at the nodes, leaf blades 8-15 mm wide, and pedicellate spikelet evident, with a bisexual upper floret (vs. E. ophiuroides, the plants perennial, mat-forming, with stolons and axillary branches, leaf blades 1-5 mm wide, and pedicellate spikelet absent or rudimentary, not evident).

Synonyms

  • Ischaemum ophiuroides Munro

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Eremochloa

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack. E

centipede grass. Ischaemum ophiuroides Munro • MA. Roadsides, fields, disturbed soil.