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Danthonia spicata (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.
Poverty Oatgrass, Poverty Wild Oat Grass, Curly Grass
Poaceae (Grass Family)
Synonym(s): Danthonia spicata var. longipila, Danthonia spicata var. pinetorum, Danthonia thermalis
USDA Symbol: dasp2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)
Poverty wild oat grass is a perennial bunchgrass with wiry clumps of naked stems and tufts of curly, basal leaves. The inflorescence is small and delicate at the top of the 4 in. to 2+ ft. stems.
Clump-forming cool-season grass often bluish-green. Does not persist in fertile soil. (Ontario Native Plants 2002)
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall, often shorter.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AK , AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , NT , ON , PE , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Que. to MN, B.C. & s. AK, s. to n. FL, LA, TX & mts. to NM & OR, south to central Mexico
Native Habitat: Open areas; thin woodlands
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry/sterile to damp/peaty soils.
Conditions Comments: Var. pinetorum replaces the typical variety from the Rockies westward.
Larval Host: Indian Skipper
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
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PropagationDescription: Sow seed or divide.
Seed Treatment: Acid scarification has been shown to increase germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
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View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
North American Native Plant Society - Etobicoke, ON
BibliographyBibref 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
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Danthonia spicata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Danthonia spicata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Danthonia spicata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-01-23
Research By: TWC Staff