Poverty Oatgrass, Danthonia spicata

Poverty Oatgrass

Danthonia spicata

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: 12 inches
Spacing: 1-2 feet

Poverty Oatgrass, Danthonia spicata, is a cool-season grass prefers light, well-drained soil in full or partial sun. It forms low tufts with basal leaves that tend to curve to right or left. Older leaves often brown and curl inward, giving it its other common name, Curly Grass. Thin flowering culms develop and rise above the tufts.

Leaves are basal and alternate but mostly near the base except for 1 or 2 leaves farther up the stem. Upper leaves are erect, up to 2 inches long, usually hairless and flat. Lower leaves are up to 6 inches long, up to 3 mm (about 1/8 inch) wide, usually rolled in along the edge (involute), least sparsely long-hairy on both surfaces, usually becoming curly with age. Old leaves may persist to the next season.

Loose, erect, raceme-like branching cluster at the top of the stem, up to 2 inches long, the branches erect to spreading at flowering becoming more erect in fruit. Branches typically have a single spikelet (flower cluster), occasionally 2 on lower branches. Spikelets are short-stalked, 3/8 to ½ inch long, slightly flattened, narrowly lance-elliptic in outline and have 4 to 9 florets; the terminal floret may be under-developed. Spikelets are light green to whitish at maturity, the florets shedding individually as each grain matures, leaving the glumes behind on the stalk. Grains (seeds) are brown and about 2 mm long.

Poverty Grass is a common grass of sandy or rocky soils in open deciduous and Jack pine forest, trail edges, hillsides, gravel pits, rocky ledges, outcrops and bluffs. Specimens in shadier or wetter habitats may be hairier with less curly leaves than those in more open, drier spaces. The persistent, curly leaf clump can be diagnostic even early in the season when flowering stems are not present.
 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  This is a plant useful for a ground cover or erosion control, as it has small rhizomes and deep roots to hold soil in place and spread out easily.
  The small flowers attract butterflies.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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