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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass)
Mathews, Ray

Tripsacum dactyloides

Tripsacum dactyloides (L.) L.

Eastern gamagrass, Fakahatchee grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Coix dactyloides, Tripsacum dactyloides var. occidentale

USDA Symbol: TRDA3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Usually 2-3 ft. in height, eastern mock grama can grow 10 ft. tall. It is interesting primarily for its terminal inflorescences which have separate male and female flowers. Stigmas are purple; stamens orange. The plant is a perennial.

Deer eat the hard, yellow seeds of this plant.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Leaf: Green
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: MA to IA & KS, s. to FL, OK & TX
Native Habitat: Borders of salt marshes; stream banks; mesic, upland, tallgrass prairies, Frequent in scattered parts of the state, more common in the eastern half, rare in Plains Country

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Calcareous, Acid-based
Conditions Comments: Eastern gamagrass is related to corn, and deer gobble up its seeds. This grass grows large and stately; it is a good idea to allocate plenty of room to it. Cut it back in winter, but carefully, the leaf blade edges are sharp!

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Accent, Grows in clumps, Border, Ground cover, Can be mowed
Use Wildlife: Deer eat the hard, yellow seeds. Seeds-granivorous birds, Cover, Nesting site, Graze.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Bunchgrass Skipper
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Tripsacum dactyloides is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Byssus Skipper
(Problema byssus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FAC FACW FAC FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.4 - Spring Climbs Rockies Slowly, Colorado Cooler, Conference of Wildflower and Nati...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Tripsacum dactyloides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tripsacum dactyloides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tripsacum dactyloides

Metadata

Record Modified: 2014-08-06
Research By: TWC Staff, GAP

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