Panicum sphaerocarpon Elliott
Family - Poaceae
Stems - To 60cm tall, erect, herbaceous, typically simple but sometimes branching in the fall, single or multiple from the base, glabrous. Nodes glabrous or with short appressed hairs.
Leaves - Leaves of basal rosette different than those of the stem. Basal leaves elliptic. Cauline leaves linear-lanceolate, to +/-20cm long, +/-2.5cm broad, sheathing, rounded a the base, glabrous on the surfaces, with hairs on the margins near the base. Some of the hairs with pustulate bases. Sheath glabrous but hairy on the margins.
Inflorescence - A dense branching panicle to +10cm tall (long). Spikelets mostly at the tips of the panicle branches. The branches os the panicle mostly glabrous.
Flowers - Spikelets small, +/-1.5mm long, broadly elliptic to orbicular. Lower glume glabrous. Upper glume fine hairy (rarely glabrous), rounded at the apex, to 1.8mm long.
Flowering - May - September or July - November.
Habitat - Upland prairies, glades, ledges of bluffs, mesic to dry upland woods, bottoms, streambanks, disturbed sites, roadsides. Usually on acid substrates.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This species can be found mostly in the lower 2/3 of Missouri. The plant is fairly easy to ID in the field because of its dense inflorescence, tiny spikelets, and dimorphic leaves.
Photographs taken on Stegal Mountain, MO., 7-15-03.