Piptochaetium avenaceum (L.) Parodi - Blackseed Needlegrass
Family - Poaceae
Node of stem.
Base of plant.
Arrow shows ligule.
Flowering - April - June.
Habitat - Deciduous hardwood hammocks, thickets, dry woods.
Origin - Native to North America.
Other information - This grass can be found growing throughout most of Alabama. The plant can be identified by its open inflorescences and long spikelet awns. The inflorescence branches are very thin and cannot be seen from a distance. This creates the effect that the spikelets are just floating in mid air around the top of the flowering culm. The long awns of the spikelet are twisted upon close inspection and are typically perfectly straight (as shown above) or sometimes bent. The black seed of the fruit is another characteristic to look for.
Photographs taken at Bibb County Glades, AL., 5-1-05.