Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene

Family: Poaceae, Tribe: Eragrostideae

Pertinent Synonyms & Notes (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other synonyms)

Uniola spicata L.

Pertinent Common Names (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other common names)


Primary Disseminule Type

floret (entire or with palea and caryopsis only) or caryopsis alone

Description (diagnostics are in brown)

Spikelets solitary, pedicelled (pedicels linear), consisting of 5–15 fertile florets with similar-looking though diminished sterile florets at apex, ovate, laterally compressed, 5–20(28) mm long x 4–7 mm wide. Disarticulation between fertile florets such that the disseminule is a floret (with subtending rachilla), the caryopsis sheathed by the palea only, or the naked caryopsis.

Glumes similar, persistent, shorter than spikelet, thinner than fertile lemma, ovate, scarious, keeled, 3–9-veined, apices acute. Lower glume 2–3 mm long, 0.9 length of upper glume. Upper glume 3–4 mm long, same length as adjacent fertile lemma.

Fertile florets that are entire with persistent subtending rachilla as well as a piece of rachilla that had connected to the next apical floret.

Lemma ovate, 3–6 mm long, coriaceous to chartaceous, rounded to keeled, 5–11-veined, apex acute.

Palea same length as lemma, coriaceous, 2-veined, veins keeled, keels narrowly winged, serrate.

Caryopsis held loosely by palea, asymmetrically ovate (a unique slightly twisted shape terminating in an elongated apex tipped with the 2 styles), laterally compressed, 2–5 mm long x ca. 1.5 mm wide, brown, hilum ± round, dark.

Similar Species

Cynodon dactylon

Risk Assessment (codes in yellow or red indicate cause for concern; assessments are current as of mid-2011; click AUQP, NZBORIC, or NZBPI for access to the most recent versions of these databases and possible assessment changes)