Andropogon ternarius Michx.
Family: Poaceae
Andropogon ternarius image

Plants cespitose. Culms 70-150 cm. Sheaths smooth or scabrous, sometimes pilose; ligules 0.4-1.5 mm, ciliate; blades 1-3 mm wide, pubescent or glabrous and glaucous. Inflorescence units 2-30+ per culm; peduncles usually 5-20 mm, with (1)2 rames; rames 3-4 cm, exserted at maturity, terminating in a sessile-pedicellate spikelet pair; internodes sparsely to densely villous, hairs from as long as to twice as long as the sessile spikelets. Sessile spikelets 4.5-8.4 mm; callus hairs to 8 mm; awns 10-25 mm; anthers 3, 1.2-2.3 mm. Pedicellate spikelets 1.5-3.6 mm, sterile. 2n = 40, 60.

Andropogon ternarius grows in the southeastern United States and northern Mexico. It is planted as an ornamental and for erosion control on slopes in poor and sandy soils, and is tolerant of coastal conditions.

Andropogon ternarius is similar to A. arctatus, but differs in its possession of three anthers and usually in its longer spikelets, both sessile and pedicellate.

Culms tufted, 5-12 dm, branched above, the 2 uppermost nodes sparsely villous to glabrous; blades 2-3 mm wide, often purplish-glaucous; spathes varying from narrowly linear to boat-shaped, 3-6 cm, to 6 mm wide; racemes in 3-6 pairs on a long- exserted peduncle, 3-6 cm, with mostly fewer than 12 joints; rachis densely white-villous; sessile spikelet 4.5-7.5 mm, once and a half to twice as long as the internode next above it and longer than the long- villous sterile pedicel; awn 15-20 mm, twisted below; 2n=40, 60. Open woods and dry fields; N.J. and Del. to Ky. and s. Mo., s. to Fla. and Tex.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Indiana Coefficient of Conservatism: C = 3

Wetland Indicator Status: FACU

Diagnostic Traits: To 1.5 m tall; spikes usually paired, exserted from upper sheaths; pedicellate spikelets vestigial, to 2 mm long; sessile spikelet 4.5-6.4 mm, its awn 10-25 mm, twisted proximally. Our populations are assigned to var. ternarius.