Eriochloa contracta Hitchc.

Family: Poaceae, Tribe: Paniceae

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


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

prairie cupgrass

Primary Disseminule Type


Description (diagnostics are in brown)

Spikelets solitary or sometimes in unequally pedicellate pairs (pedicels up to 1 mm long, variously pubescent), lanceolate, dorsally compressed, (3)3.5–4(5) mm long x 1.2–1.7 mm wide, falling entire, consisting of 1 basal sterile lemma and 1 fertile floret without rachilla extension. Spikelet callus globular (cupuliform), incorporating reduced lower glume and thickened rachilla internode, glabrous.

Upper glume lanceolate, same length as spikelet, membranous, without keel, 3–9-veined, surface with sparsely appressed pubescence on lower 2/3, scabrous or glabrous distally, apex acuminate, awned (awn 0.4–1 mm long).

Sterile lemma similar to upper glume (membranous), lanceolate, 3–5 mm long x 1.2–1.7 mm wide, same length as spikelet, setose, 3–7-veined, surface pubescent, apex acuminate to attenuate, unawned or mucronate. Sterile palea absent.

Fertile lemma elliptic, 2–2.5 mm long (0.6–0.7 length of sterile lemma), indurate, without keel, 5(7)-veined, margins involute, apex acute to obtuse, awn 0.5–1.1 mm.

Fertile palea indurate, faintely rugose, apex obtuse, margins involute.

Caryopsis ovate to broadly elliptic, ca. 1.5–2 mm long x ca. 1.2–1.4 mm wide, whitish, embryo ca. 0.67 length of caryopsis or less, hilum round, dark.

Similar Species

Eriochloa acuminata var. acuminata

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)