Sporobolus contractus A.S. Hitchc.

narrow-spiked dropseed

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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

Narrow-spiked dropseed is native to southwestern North America, and an occasional visitor to New England, where it has been collected in dry to moist, sandy soils in Maine. The Apache and Navajo used the seeds for food, and the Zuni used bundles of narrow-spike dropseed stalks to make temporary shelters.

Habitat

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

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
Leaf blade width
3–8 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
1.7–3.2 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 one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0 mm
Leaf ligule length
0.4–1 mm
Anther length
0.3–0.5 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    0.3–0.5 mm
    Anther number
    2–3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    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 veins
    • 0
    • 1
    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
    • 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
    Inflorescence length
    100–500 mm
    Inflorescence length to width ratio
    50
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious 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
    2–10 mm
    Lemma awn base
    NA
    Lemma awn length
    0 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has no awn
    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
    1
    One or more florets
    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
    1.7–3.2 mm
    Spikelet position
    the spikelets emerge from both the upper and lower halves of the inflorescence branches
    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
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf blade width
    3–8 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.4–1 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of 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
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Sporobolus cryptandrus

Synonyms

  • Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) Gray var. strictus Scribn.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Sporobolus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

3.  Sporobolus contractus A.S. Hitchc. E

narrow-spiked dropseed. Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) Gray var. strictus Scribn. • ME; 
also reported from CT by Dowhan (1979), but specimens are unknown. Dry-mesic to mesic, sandy soils.