Plants cespitose. Culms 40-60 cm, erect, usually unbranched, densely antrorsely hirsute beneath the nodes. Sheaths mostly glabrous, often ciliate on the margins, particularly at the throat; ligules with 1-2 mm hairs; blades 15-30 cm long, 1-2(4) mm wide, usually involute, abaxial surfaces with scattered long hairs adjacent to the margins, adaxial surfaces usually densely pilose. Rames 5-10 cm, internodes densely villous. Sessile spikelets 4.5-8 mm; calluses about 0.5 mm, hirsute; lower glumes densely hirsute, acuminate, bifid, teeth 1.5-2.5 mm; pedicels densely pilose dorsally. Pedicellate spikelets with densely pilose lower glumes. 2n = 20.
Elionurus barbiculmis grows on mesas, rocky slopes, hills, and in canyons, usually above 1200 m. Its range extends from southern Arizona and southwestern Texas into northern Mexico.
FNA 2007, Gould 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: woolyspike balsamscale Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Cespitose perennial grass with slender, erect stems 40-60 cm tall, usually unbranched, with soft hairs below the nodes. Vegetative: Sheaths mostly glabrous, but often ciliate on the margins and at the throat; ligules with 1-2 mm hairs; blades narrow and involute, 15-30 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, with scattered long hairs adjacent to the margins on the underside. Inflorescence: Narrow, solitary raceme, 5-10 cm long, with appressed spikelets and densely villous internodes; spikelets in pairs, 1 sessile and bisexual, the other pedicillate and staminate. Sessile spikelets dorsally compressed, 4-8 mm, with blunt, hirsute calluses at the base; lower glumes densely hirsute, acuminate, and bifid, the teeth 2 mm long; lower florets reduced, sterile; upper florets bisexual, unawned. Pedicellate spikelets about equal to the sessile spikelets, with densely pilose lower glumes; on pedicels that are stout, appressed to rame axes, and densely pilose dorsally. Ecology: Dry rocky slopes, on hills, and in canyons; 4,000-6,000 ft (1219-1829 m); flowers July-October. Distribution: se AZ, sw NM, sw TX; south to c MEX. Notes: Distinguished by being an erect perennial with solitary, cylindrical, densely long-haired spikes terminating the culms; rolled and long, linear leaf blades; and appressed glumes with the tinge of red on the margins. The hairy spikes often have a yellowish or straw-colored hue making this plant recognizable from afar. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Elioneurus is from the Greek eluein, mouse, and oura, tail, alluding to the narrowly cylindrical inflorescence, while barbiculmis means bearded stem. Synonyms: Elionurus barbiculmis var. parviflorus Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2014, AHazelton 2015
Citation: The vPlants Project. vPlants: A Virtual Herbarium of the Chicago Region. http://www.vplants.org
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