Thinopyrum pycnanthum (Pers.) Barkworth

tick quack 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

Tick quack grass is a non-native grass that has colonized salt marshes and beaches on parts of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It is found in Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island.

Habitat

Coastal beaches (sea beaches), marshes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
Leaf blade width
2–6 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
10–20 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
0–10 mm
Leaf ligule length
0.3–0.6 mm
Anther length
5–7 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    5–7 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 thin and flexible
    Floret number
    3–10
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0–0.7 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
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis hairs
    the inflorescence axis is hairy but not rough or sand-papery feeling
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch length
    0 cm
    Inflorescence branch roughness
    NA
    Inflorescence branches
    there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence branches coming off the lowest stem node
    0
    Inflorescence crowding
    NA
    Inflorescence length
    40–200 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn length
    0–10 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 hairs
    the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma marginal vein hairs
    the marginal vein of the lemma is hairless
    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 narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    5
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma stay roughly parallel throughout
    Lower glume length
    4.5–8 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    • the lower glume is nearly as long, or as long as, the upper glume
    • the lower glume is one third to three quarters as long as the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    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 no 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
    10–20 mm
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets do not have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    0 mm
    Spikelet position
    NA
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    0
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets appear spiny and bur-like
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    4.5–8 mm
    Upper glume shape
    • the upper glume is widest above the middle
    • the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Rhizomes
    yes
    Roots
    the plant has rhizomes (horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    • the leaves do not have auricles
    • the leaves have auricles
    Leaf blade cross-section
    • the leaf blade is clearly folded or rolled inwards
    • the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade is hairless, but it may have tiny prickles that give it a sand-papery feel
    Leaf blade length
    Up to 35 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    2–6 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.3–0.6 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    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
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • marshes
    • sea beaches
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    10–120 cm
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly to completely hairless
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow singly or a few together (they may form diffuse colonies)

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
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.

Massachusetts
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Elymus repens:
glumes long-acute at the apex, usually with an awn mostly 0.5-4 mm long (vs. T. pycnanthum, with glumes acute at the apex, unawned or with a tiny mucro to 0.5 mm long).
Elymus trachycaulis:
anthers 1-2 mm long, and glumes long-acute at the apex, usually with an awn mostly 0.5-4 mm long (vs. T. pycnanthum, with anthers 5-7 mm long, and glumes acute at the apex, unawned or with a tiny mucro to 0.5 mm long).

Synonyms

  • Agropyron pycnanthum (Godr.) Godr. & Gren.
  • Elymus pungens (Pers.) Melderis subsp. pycnanthus (Godr.) O. Bolòs & Vigo
  • Elymus pycnanthus (Godr.) Melderis
  • Elytrigia pycnantha (Godr.) A. Löve
  • Triticum pycnanthum Godr.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Thinopyrum

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Thinopyrum pycnanthum (Godr.) Barkworth E

tick quack grass. Agropyron pycnanthum (Godr.) Godr. & Gren.; Elymus pungens (Pers.) Melderis subsp. pycnanthus (Godr.) O. Bolòs & Vigo; E. pycnanthus (Godr.) Melderis; Elytrigia pycnantha (Godr.) A. Löve; Triticum pycnanthum Godr. • MA, ME, RI. Saline marshes, Atlantic coast beaches. This species was erroneously reported from NH by Kartesz (1999) based on Hodgdon et al. (1979), who merely stated that the species was to be expected in NH.