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Tridens flavus (Purpletop tridens) | NPIN
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Tridens flavus (Purpletop tridens)
Wildflower Center Staff

Tridens flavus

Tridens flavus (L.) Hitchc.

Purpletop tridens, Redtop tridens, Tall redtop tridens, Purpletop, Redtop, Tall redtop

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: trfl2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

Tall redtop or Purple-top is a 2 1/2-7 ft. tall perennial grass with drooping branches bearing widely spaced reddish-purple spikelets. In mass, this species puts a purple top on old fields and open woods. The plant becomes brown in fall.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Leaf: Green
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Native Distribution: S. NH to IL & NE, s. to Mex.
Native Habitat: Roadsides, Open woodlands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Dry soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: During early growth it is readily consumed by livestock.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Attractive
Use Wildlife: Graze, Nesting material.
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Cross-line skipper, Broad-winged skipper, Little Glassywing skipper, Large Wood Nymph.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Tridens flavus is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Common Wood Nymph
(Cercyonis pegala)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Crossline Skipper
(Polites origenes)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Little Glassywing
(Pompeius verna)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Broad-winged Skipper
(Poanes viator)

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.

From the National Suppliers Directory

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

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA

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
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
* 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 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
* 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

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

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

Metadata

Record Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: LAL

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