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Aristida oligantha (Prairie threeawn)
Strickland, Sam C.

Aristida oligantha

Aristida oligantha Michx.

Prairie Threeawn, Oldfield (Prairie) 3-awn, Oldfield Threeawn

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Aristida ramosissima var. chaseana


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


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Raceme , Spike , Spikelet
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Culms 15-80 cm. tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: The florets (flowers) of grasses are usually minute and thus inconspicuous. This grass has a purplish panicle or raceme.


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
Native Distribution: Eastern U.S. west to Texas and South Dacota, also Arizona, California and Oregon. Occurs throughout Texas, but is especially common in the prairie regions of central and north Texas.
Native Habitat: Sandy and sandy limestone soil in open areas.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy soils, also tight clayey soils, prairie regions
Conditions Comments: Oldfield threeawn has some value to protect against soil erosion in loose-soiled areas, but it has almost no value as a forage grass. The seeds can cause trouble by working into the wool of sheep and into the eyes of sheep and cattle.


Use Wildlife: The plants provide nesting sites and/or material for small fur and game animals.
Use Food: The seeds are food for song birds. The plant is browsed by some hoofed animals.
Use Other: Browsed by some hoofed animals. Some value in protecting against erosion on loose-soiled, disturbed and denuded sites.
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: The Grass Family is an essential larval food for most branded skippers and most of the satyrs.
Deer Resistant: High

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
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-0103 Collected 2003-05-13 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2010-08-09
Research By: NPC

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