broadleaved panicgrass
Dichanthelium latifolium (L.) Harvill

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planthabitleaf basespikeletillustration

Broadleaved panicgrass is infrequent to frequent throughout the eastern two-thirds of Iowa. It grows in rich deciduous woods, dry rocky woodlands, and in slightly open areas on rocky or sandy soil. This species is distributed throughout the northern two-thirds of the eastern United States, reaching into Canada. Like other species of Dichanthelium, broadleaved panicgrass is characterized by two distinct blooming periods. The conspicuous primary flowering heads are terminal to the culms and are produced in June and early July (and occasionally in the fall). Secondary flowering heads are produced from the leaf axils from July through September. The primary flowering heads usually have a lower seed set than the secondary ones, which have flowers that remain closed and are self-pollinated.

Broadleaved panicgrass, as its name suggests, is characterized by broad leaves, but it also has usually smooth sheaths (or if hairs are present, they lack warty bases) and hairy leaf blades. Deertongue grass (Dichanthelium clandestinum), a species similar in overall appearance, has sheaths (especially the secondary ones) with warty-based hairs and smooth leaves, and the leaf blades are narrower, although still relatively broad.  The secondary flowering heads of broadleaved panicgrass are typically not hidden within the leaf sheaths as they are in deertongue grass.

Etymology: Dichanthelium from the Greek di = twice and anth = flowering, referring to the occurrence of two distinct flowering periods; latifolium from the Latin lati = broad and folium = leaf, referring to the very broad leaves of this species.

 

Plants perennial, forming small tufts from knotty rhizomes. Culms 30-85 cm, stout, nearly erect; nodes smooth, the lower ones often with sparse hairs; internodes smooth or sparsely hairy. Fall phase branching from the mid-culm nodes, the branches nearly erect, scarcely rebranching, the blades and panicles only slightly reduced. Basal rosettes well differentiated. Leaves along the culms with sheaths not overlapping, smooth to softly hairy near the base, but never with warty-based hairs; blades 4-17 cm long, 13-40 mm wide, very broad, usually smooth, sometimes with sparse hairs, the bases heart-shaped and clasping the culm. Primary flowering heads terminal, eventually at least partially exceeding the leaves, 5-14 cm long, (2-) 3-7 (-10) cm wide, pyramid-shaped in outline. Spikelets 2.9-3.7 mm long, 1.6-1.8 mm wide, ellipsoid, sparsely hairy; lower glumes 1.3-1.9 mm long, 1/3-1/2 as long as the spikelets, narrowly triangular; upper florets slightly exceeding the upper glumes and lower lemmas, with a minute fringe of hairs. Chromosome number 2n = 18, 36.

 

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