Sporobolus neglectus Nash

small 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

Small dropseed is an annual grass that is widespread in North America, and although it occurs in most New England states, it is rare in our region. This may be due in part to its preference for limestone-influenced sites, although it has recently spread to heavily salted roadsides. Note that it is difficult to distinguish, without close inspection, from the much more common poverty dropseed (Sporobolus vaginiflorus).

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), ridges or ledges, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
0.6–2 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
1.6–3 mm
Glume relative length
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
0.1–0.3 mm
Anther length
1.1–1.6 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.1–1.6 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
    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 length
    20–50 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 branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inforescence position
    • the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    • the spikelets are mainly found at the nodes, in the axils of leaves, along the stem
    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 hairs
    the lemma is hairless between the veins
    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
    Lower glume length
    1.5–2.4 mm
    One or more florets
    there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    • palea is longer than lemma
    • 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
    1.6–3 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
    Seed length
    1.2–1.8 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
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf blade width
    0.6–2 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.1–0.3 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
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • ridges or ledges
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    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
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

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

Connecticut
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Maine
historical (S-rank: SH), potentially extirpated (code: PE)
Massachusetts
rare (S-rank: S2), endangered (code: E)
New Hampshire
historical (S-rank: SH), endangered (code: E)
Vermont
extremely rare (S-rank: S1)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Sporobolus vaginiflorus

Synonyms

  • Sporobolus vaginiflorus (Torr. ex Gray) Wood var. neglectus (Nash) Scribn.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Sporobolus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

6.  Sporobolus neglectus Nash NC

small dropseed. Sporobolus vaginiflorus (Torr. ex Gray) Wood var. neglectus (Nash) Scribn. 
• CT, MA, ME, NH, VT. Ledges, river shore outcrops, dry sandy soil of roadsides and fields, often in regions of high-pH bedrock and/or till, more recently naturalizing along heavily salted roadsides.