• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Historic note
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Acknowledgement
 Introduction
 Main
 Appendix
 Back Cover














Group Title: Circular - Univeristy of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences ; 665
Title: Important range grasses for evaluating grazing management
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067071/00001
 Material Information
Title: Important range grasses for evaluating grazing management
Series Title: Circular Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Physical Description: 54 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Tanner, George Walden
Drummond, Michael E
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1985
 Subjects
Subject: Grasses -- Varieties -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Range management   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: George W. Tanner and Michael E. Drummond.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "October 1985."
Funding: Circular (Florida Cooperative Extension Service) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067071
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 15204708

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Historic note
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
    Acknowledgement
        Page 3
    Introduction
        Page 4
    Main
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    Appendix
        Page 54
    Back Cover
        Page 55
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida




`Otbe 95 icla 6









Gerg W. Tanner

Mihe E. Drummon



















































Joh T. Wo .e Dea fo .xeso










SAcknowledgments

Descriptions of the 24 grasses in this publication
were derived primarily from two United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture documents: a) "Important Native
Grasses for Range Conservation in Florida," by L. L.
Yarlett, USDA-SCS, Illus. 165 p (1965), and b) "100 Im-
portant Native Grasses in 11 Southern States," by H.
L. Leithead, L. L. Yarlett and T. N. Shiflet, USDA-SCS
Handbook NO. 389, 216 p (1971). Definitions of words
listed in the glossary are from "The Grasses of Texas,"
by F. W. Gould, Texas A & M University Press, 653 p
(1975).
































George W. Tanner and Michael E. Drummond are Assistant Professor
and Graduate Assistant, respectively, Department of Wildlife and
.Range Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation,
University of Florida, Gainesville.







Introduction
This publication is designed to aid in identifying 24
native grass species that can be used as indicators in
developing a grazing management program on range
pastures in Florida. The grasses are divided into a
group of 12 preferred forage species and a group of
12 non preferred forage species. In addition to identi-
fying characteristics of each plant, their growing
characteristics and responses to grazing are presented.
Cattle are selective grazers, and the mainstay of their
diet is grass. Selective grazing implies that some
species of grass are more highly preferred than other
species. If cattle numbers are high enough and the
grazing period long enough, the preferred grass
species will begin to disappear, or decrease in abun-
dance, from the pasture. As this happens, less
desirable species that are already established in the
pasture will begin to increase in abundance. If overgraz-
ing continues, cattle will begin grazing more heavily on
the secondarily preferred species to the point where
they too may begin to decline in their abundance. When
this occurs, weed-like species of grasses, forbs and
woody plants will invade. These invading species
typically are poor forages and are not grazed upon by
cattle; thus, they will increase in abundance a.,
overgrazing continues.
Once the rancher or land manager is able to identify
the preferred and non preferred grass species and can
determine which group is most abundant, then better
decisions can be made as to current and future graz-
ing management on a given site. It is most important,
however, to never stock more animals on a site than
the forages being produced on that site can feed dur-
ing the intended grazing period. The goal of grazing
management should be to improve species composi-
tion in pastures dominated by non preferred species
and maintain pastures dominated by the preferred
species.







The 12 preferred and 12 non preferred grasses
described in this publication are listed below:


PREFERRED
Beaked panicums
Blue maidencane
,Cabanis bluestem
Chalky bluestem
Chasmanthium
Creeping bluestem
Cutgrass
Eastern gamagrass
Lopsided indiangrass
Maidencane
Switchgrass
Toothachegrass


NON PREFERRED
Bottlebrush threeawn
Broomsedge bluestem
Bushybeard bluestem
Carpet grass
Cogongrass
Hairawn muhly
Johnsongrass
Low panicums
Pineland threeawn
Sand cordgrass
Sandspurs
Vaseygrass


A small glossary (Appendix I) is included to assist your
understanding of descriptive terms used in the text.


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-'Figure 1. Parts of a grass plant.


Inflorescence -


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Node- /
Internode


Shoot -\

V4







BEAKED PANICUMS
(Panicum anceps; P. anceps var. rhizomatum)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Beaked panicums are warm-season, clump-forming
rhizomatous perennials attaining a height of 2-4 ft. Leaf
blades are flat to somewhat V-shaped, about 1/4-1/2
inch wide and somewhat hairy (especially near the
base). Leaf sheaths are mostly basal, keeled, frequently
tinged with purple and more or less softly hairy. The
inflorescence typically is an open or somewhat con-
tracted panicle 4-6 inches long, densely flowered with
1/8-1/4 inch long spikelets set at an angle on the
branchlets.
GROWTH HABITS
Spring growth starts from old rootstocks and
rhizomes in January in south Florida (February in north
Florida) and continues through spring and mid-summer.
Plants remain green until fall. Seedheads appear in
September and reach maturity in October. Reproduc-
tion is primarily by rhizomes but a large seed crop is
produced each year by vigorous plants.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Beaked panicums are found throughout Florida and
the Southeast. They are best adapted to moist and wet,
soils of fresh marsh and swamp margins, depressions,
and wet flatwoods. Beaked panicums grow best under
partial shade.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Beaked panicums are considered decreasers on all
sites where they occur. They are selected by cattle from
early spring until late fall and provide fair roughage dur-
ing winter months. Grazing should be deferred unt!,
summer months to improve plant vigor and density.


































Beaked panicum inflorescence


Aspect of beaked panicum


7







BLUE MAIDENCANE
(Amphicarpum muhlenbergianum)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Blue maidencane (also called goobergrass) is a
warm-season, rhizomatous perennial attaining a height
of 1-3 feet. Leaf blades are flat, firm, 3-5 inches long,4
1/4-1/2 inch wide and have thick, whitish margins that
become whiter as the plant matures. The leaves are
evenly distributed along the stem. The leaf sheaths are
rounded on the back. The plant produces two types of
spikelets; above ground there is a few-flowered open
panicle that bears 1/4-inch sterile spikelets; and 2-4 in-
ches below the soil surface the plant bears 1/4-inch fer-
tile spikelets.
GROWTH HABITS
The growth cycle of blue maidencane averages 10-11
months. In south Florida, new growth starts in late
December and plants reach a height of 4-5 inches by
mid-March and 14-15 inches by June. Sterile and fer-
tile spikelets are both produced in June. By October,
the subterranean spikelets enter a "soft dough" stage
and mature in November or December. While these
spikelets are fertile they also are highly susceptible to
insect damage. Thus, plant reproduction is primarily by,
rhizomes.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Blue maidencane is found throughout Florida,
coastal Georgia and southern South Carolina and is
adapted to slightly acidic sandy soils that are wet for
at least part of the year. It is especially well adapted
to sloughs where shallow water flows over the ground
during the rainy season. This grass frequently grows,~
in pure stands and is quite tolerant to partial shade.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Blue maidencane is very palatable and furnishes ex-
cellent fall grazing and good winter roughage. Its abili-
ty to produce high yields in pure stands under shade
makes goobergrass a valuable forage in woodland
grazing programs. Blue maidencane is a decreaser but
remains vigorous and productive if not overgrazed and
periodically deferred for up to 4 months. Mechanical
soil disturbance (such as disking) in the winter or early ,
spring produces vigorous growth.
































Aspect of blue maidencane







CABANIS BLUESTEM
(Andropogon ternarius var. cabanisii)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Cabanis bluestem is a warm-season, perennial
bunchgrass reaching 4-6 feet in height. Culms are
purplish-red at maturity. Leaf blades are about 1/4 inch*
wide, 12-16 inches long, flat and without hairs. Sheaths
are rounded, and the ligule is a distinct membrane, 1/8
inch long. Racemes are silky white, paired and about
21/2 inches long.
GROWTH HABITS
New shoots are produced from the crown in February
and March. A normal plant clump is 4-6 inches in
diameter at the soil surface. Major vegetative growth
terminates in August when seedheads begin to form.
The paired racemes do not separate until seed maturi -
ty in early October. This grass rarely occurs in pure
stands.
DISTRIBUTION
This grass is most common in south Florida flatwoods
sites and rarely occurs north of Orlando.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
This species is classified as a decreaser on all sites.
Though never an abundant grass, presence or absence
of this species is a good indicator of past grazing
management. Cabanis bluestem is extremely palatable
and is heavily selected by cattle. Therefore, periods of
rest during the growing season are needed.











i I7


Cabanis bluestem inflorescence


Aspect of cabanis bluestem

11







CHALKY BLUESTEM
(Andropogon capillipes)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Chalky bluestem is a warm-season perennial
bunchgrass that attains heights of 3-5 feet. Leaf blades
are sharply folded and keeled at the base and flatten-*
ed toward the tip. Blades at the base of the plant are
20-25 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Leaf sheaths are
keeled, overlapping and crowded at the base. The
silky-villous spikelets are borne in paired racemes that
are partly enclosed in purplish-brown spathes about 1
inch long. The entire plant is covered with a white
chalky coating that is easily rubbed off.
GROWTH HABITS
Vegetative growth starts in mid-January in south
Florida and mid to late February in the northern part'
of the state. Seedheads appear in September and Oc-
tober and the highly viable seed matures about 30 days
later. Growth from the previous season often remains
green through the winter unless temperatures fall below
20 F.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Chalky bluestem is found throughout Florida,
southern North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and.,
west to eastern Texas. It is particularly well adapted
to wet, acid to neutral, sandy soils of flatwoods and
fresh marshes and often makes maximum growth on
seepy slopes. This species often recolonizes site-
prepared, reforestation stands on north Florida flat-
woods sites.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Chalky bluestem is classified as a decreaser on all,
sites and is considered the most palatable native grass
in Florida on flatwoods sites. It provides excellent spring
grazing and winter roughage, but is seldom a key
management species as it usually contributes no more
than 10-15% of the total herbage on a given site.
Chalky bluestem responds well to annual summer
deferments, but is reduced by annual burning.












Aspect of chalky bluestem


I 'd







CHASMANTHIUM
(Chasmathium spp.)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Five species of Chasmanthium occur in Florida C.
ornithorhynchum, C. latifolium, C. nitidum, C. laxum and
C. sessiliflorum. All are cool-season, rhizomatous peren-
nials. The first two occur in Florida only in the northern-
most areas and will not be discussed here. The remain-
ing three are generally 2-4 feet tall with flat blades and
nodding panicles of spikelets with multiple fertile florets.
Shiny chasmanthium (C. nitidum) is slenderly
rhizomatous with purple nodes and large (1/2-7/8 inch)
spikelets that 4-8 flowered. Longleaf chasmanthium (C
sessiliflorum) and spike chasmanthium (C. laxum) are
very similar, both having short knotty rhizomes and
slender, nodding panicles of 2-5-flowered spikelets that ,
are 3/16-3/8 inch long. They are differentiated by the
presence of pubescence on the lower nodes, sheaths
and collars of longleaf chasmanthium.
GROWTH HABITS
Chasmanthiums make major vegetative growth ear-
ly in the year and usually produce seed during sum-
mer and/or fall. Reproduction is primarily by rhizomes.
In pine/hardwood forests, spike and longleaf chasman-
thium can remain green year long.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
At least one species of chasmanthium may be found
nearly throughout Florida and from Texas and
Oklahoma, east to the Atlantic coast and north to Penn-
sylvania. All are adapted to moist, shaded bottomland
and upland soils. Longleaf and spike chasmanthiums
are especially adapted to rich organic soils and require,
a complete canopy of trees for optimal production.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
All species are considered decreasers and are selec-
tively grazed in winter and early spring. Forage value
decreases during summer and fall. Late winter and ear-
ly spring deferments of 90 days every 2-3 years im-
proves plant vigor. Most species are moderately
tolerant of controlled burning. Removal of overstory
canopy will eliminate spike and longleaf chasmanthium.


























Chasmanthium inflorescence


Aspect of chasmanthium







CREEPING BLUESTEM
(Schizachyrium stoloniferum)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Creeping bluestem is a warm-season rhizomatous
perennial reaching 2-6 feet in height. Leaf blades are
1/4-3/8 inch wide, up to 2 feet long, usually V-shaped, *
and abruptly tapered at the tip. Leaf sheaths are strong-
ly keeled and often light purple-tinged at the base. The
upper part of the sheath, collar, and lower portion of
the blade are frequently densely villous. Seedheads are
commonly 1-2 feet long with 11/2 inch long, villous
racemes borne one per spathe.
GROWTH HABITS
Rhizomes and new leaves grow actively in January
in south Florida and by early March in north Florida.
Major growth is completed by late-July when growth*
of seed stalks begins. Leaves may remain green for as
long as 17 months. Temperatures of 25-300 do little
damage to basal growth if protected by moderate
rough. Spikelets appear in late August or September
and seed matures in October. Seed production is er-
ratic, however, and little is known about seed viability.
This grass usually forms dense colonies and pure
stands yield about 2 tons of dry forage per acre.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Creeping bluestem is found throughout Florida and
southern Georgia on a wide variety of sites from sand-
hills to sweet and acid flatwoods. It grows best in open
areas but tolerates 25-30% shade.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Creeping bluestem is classified as a decreaser on
all sites and provides good forage throughout the year '
as well as winter roughage (in conjunction with a pro-
tein supplement). Deferment during the growth period
from early spring until after seed maturity is necessary
to insure plant vigor. As with most decreasers, graz-
ing should be restricted to no more than 50% by weight
of the current season's growth. Where saw palmetto
has been controlled by roller chopping, creeping
bluestem is often one of the first plants to become
reestablished if grazing is deferred 6-8 months follow-
ing treatment.






















Creeping bluestem inflorescence

-,1

fI
.... t"


Aspect of creeping bluestem







CUTGRASS
(Leersia hexandra)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Cutgrass is a warm-season, rhizomatous, and
stoloniferous perennial growing to 3 feet in height with
slender, often decumbent, stems. Leaf blades are flat,'
about 1/4 inch wide and up to 6-7 inches long, with fine,
sharp teeth in the margins. The leaf sheaths are round-
ed and may be rough or smooth to the touch. The culms
bear a narrow panicle 2-4 inches long, with ascending
primary branches. The spikelets are oblong, 1/8-1/4
inch, rough and often purplish.
GROWTH HABITS
This grass frequently grows in association with
maidencane. Spring growth may begin as early as
February in south Florida. Leaves may appear bluish-
green in color. Flowering can occur throughout the
year, but major periods are from March until November.
This grass is intolerant to cold temperatures, and dies
back after the first frost when growing in open areas.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Cutgrass is found from Virginia to Florida and Texas
and is widely distributed in the tropics. It is best adapted
to sites with shallow standing water such as marshy
shores of ponds, lakes or streams, swamps, ditches
and drainage canals.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Cutgrass is considered to be a decreaser on all sites
where it occurs and is much preferred by livestock. In
Florida, it is frequently found in association with
maidencane and prospers under management directed
at that species. ,*












































Cutgrass inflorescence


Aspect of cutgrass


19







EASTERN GAMAGRASS
(Tripsacum dactyloides)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Eastern gamagrass is a warm-season, robust,
rhizomatous perennial reaching 5-9 feet in height. The
rhizomes are short thick, and knotty. Leaf blades are'
flat, 1-2 feet long and 3/8-3/4 wide with a pronounced
midrib and scabrous margins. Leaf sheaths are flatten-
ed and shorter than the internodes. The inflorescence
is composed of one to three terminal spikes, 6-10 in-
ches long, each bearing conspicuously different female
(lower 1/4 of spike) and male (above) spikelets. This
plant is closely related to corn and hybrids have been
produced.
GROWTH HABITS
The major growth period is in early spring through
summer. Although the leaf tips will be killed by frost,
some green plant material is available throughout the
winter. Major seed production is from July-September
but few are viable.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Eastern gamagrass occurs from Massachusetts to
Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska, and throughout the
southern states. It grows best on moist, well-drained '
fertile soils and will not tolerate long periods of stan-
ding water.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
This species produces choice forage and hay and
is considered a decreaser on all sites where it occurs.
For best production, remove no more than 50% (by
weight) during the growing season and defer grazing
at least 90 days during summer every 2-3 years. *







































Aspect of eastern gamagrass







LOPSIDED INDIANGRASS
(Sorghastrum secundum)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Lopsided indiangrass is a warm-season perennial
bunch grass that reaches a height of 3-6 feet. Leaf
blades are flat, 1/4-1/2 inch wide and 12-24 inches long.'
Leaf sheaths are rounded and the culm bases are often
felty-pubescent. The ligule is a pointed membrane
1/4-1/2 inch long. Culms are 3-6 feet tall, bearing one-
sided panicles. Spikelets are golden-brown and bear
a double-bent awn that is 3/4-11/4 inches long.
A similar species, yellow indiangrass (S. nutans) may
be distinguished by the presence of rhizomes, a not-
ched or "rabbit-eared" ligule, and symmetrical
seedhead bearing yellow spikelets with singly-bent
awns that are only 1/2 inch long.
GROWTH HABITS
In south Florida, growth begins by mid-January (mid-
March or early April in north Florida) with most of the
leaf growth occurring in April, May and June.
Seedstalks appear in July or August and seedheads
in September. The seed matures in October. Very lit-
tle new growth occurs after seed formation.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Lopsided indiangrass is found throughout Florida,
southern Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and
southeast Texas. It is adapted to well-drained soils and
will not grow on poorly drained sites.
The range of yellow indiangrass is greater, extending
from the east coast to the Rocky Mountains, southern
Canada and Mexico. It is best adapted to deep moist
soils from heavy clays to deep sands.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
The indiangrasses are decreasers on all sites in
which they occur and are relished by livestock. They
provide high-quality forage when green and good winter
roughage. Lopsided indiangrass is often the first of the
decreasers to lose vigor and decline in the community
as a result of grazing pressure. Proper management
requires complete growing-season deferments every
2-3 years.
























Lopsided indiangrass inflorescence


Aspect of lopsided indiangrass


23







MAIDENCANE
(Panicum hemitomon)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Maidencane is a warm-season, rhizomatous peren-
nial growing from 2-6 feet tall. Leaf blades are about
1/2 inch wide, usually rough on the upper side and'
smooth on the lower. Leaf sheaths are rounded,
overlapping and shorter than the internodes. Sheaths
on sterile stems are often densely hairy while those on
fertile shoots are usually hairless. The seedhead is a
contracted, elongated panicle 6-8 inches long, with
1/8-long spikelets irregularly clustered along the
branches.
GROWTH HABITS
Growth occurs from late winter to fall with seed pro-
duction in June or July. Typically, growth slows in
August and September as water levels become high.
Maidencane is not cold-hardy and dies back immediate-
ly following the first frost, turning a characteristic gray-
brown color.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Maidencane is found throughout Florida on a wide
variety of soils varying from mineral to organic. It is very
salt intolerant and grows best in shallow standing water
or saturated soils of fresh marshes, swamps and road-
side ditches. While production is best in saturated soils,
this species grows naturally in deep sands.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Maidencane is considered a decreaser on all sites
and is highly preferred by cattle. It provides year-round
grazing in south Florida and excellent grazing in cen-
tral and north Florida from early spring through late fall.
On most sites it can produce 4-5 tons of forage per acre
and is especially high in crude protein. For maximum
production and quality, no more than 50% (by weight)
of the current year's growth should be grazed and
periodic deferments should be provided in the spring
and fall.

































Aspect of maidencane


II ,
~ it'
iy~







SWITCHGRASS
(Panicum virgatum)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Switchgrass is a warm-season, rhizomatous peren-
nial which can grow up to 6-7 feet in height. Leaf blades
are flat, 1/2 inch wide, up to 30 inches long and have
a prominent white midrib. Leaf sheaths are rounded,
smooth, as long or longer than the internodes and have
satiny white linings. The seedhead is an open panicle
about 10 inches long bearing 3/16 inch spikelets on the
upper 1/2-2/3 of ascending branches.
GROWTH HABITS
Major vegetative growth occurs from March-
September in south Florida (a somewhat shorter period
in north Florida) and major rhizome growth from
January-April. Seedheads form during late August and
September. Pure stands produce 3-4 tons of dry forage
and 100-150 pounds of seed per acre. The number of
live seed per pound, however, is low.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Switchgrass occurs throughout Florida as well as
most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
It can be found on a variety of soils from flatwoods to
brackish marshes and is most commonly associated
with the longleaf pine-bluestem range.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Switchgrass is a decreaser on all sites where it oc-
curs and is highly prized by livestock. It provides ex-
cellent spring, summer and fall forage and may be cut
for hay. This species responds favorably to proper graz-
ing and 90-day deferments during spring, summer or
fall.









Al~; ~


Switchgrass inflorescence


Aspect of switchgrass







TOOTHACHEGRASS
(Ctenium aromaticum)

DESCRIPTION Preferred
Toothachegrass is a warm-season, perennial
bunchgrass reaching a height of 3-4 feet. Leaf blades
are 1/4-1/2 inch wide, 6-10 inches long, pale green ,
below and green to nearly white in the upper surface.
Leaf sheaths are mostly basal and shorter than the in-
ternodes. The inflorescence is a straight or arched
spike with the sessile spikelets borne on one side of
the rachis, producing a comb-like appearance. The
spike often becomes twisted into a spiral after dropping
seed. The base of the culm is enlarged and contains
a substance that deadens the tongue and gums when
chewed.
A closely related species, Florida toothachegrass (C. *
floridanum), occurs on the same sites and is differen-
tiated mainly by the presence of rhizomes.
GROWTH HABITS
This grass exhibits two growth periods the first
beginning in mid-January or February and another in
October or November. Major vegetative growth occurs
during March, April and May. Seeds ripen in late May
to early June. Several seed stalks are produced per
plant and there is an especially abundant seed crop
the first growing season following a burn.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Toothachegrass is found throughout Florida and the
coastal plain from North Carolina, west to Louisiana,
Arkansas and eastern Texas. It is adapted to poorly
drained acid soils such as flatwoods with clay subsoils
and sloughs.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Toothachegrass is classified as a decreaser on all
sites where it occurs and is readily grazed by livestock
in spring and summer. This grass is rarely a dominant
species on range sites and, therefore, does not dictate
management practices. Management for major
associated grasses will benefit toothachegrass.









K> Av.*W~4*'&


Toothachegrass inflorescence


ITI
Aspet of -. t h* ga
Aspect of toothachegrass







BOTTLEBRUSH THREEAWN
(Aristida spiciformis)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Bottlebrush threeawn is a perennial bunchgrass with
stiff, erect culms reaching 20-30 inches. Leaf blades
are 8-12 inches long, 1/16-1/8 inch wide, stiff and usual-'
ly involute. The sheath and culms are round. The
mature inflorescence is an erect, pale panicle 6-8 in-
ches long, and resembles a brush. Spikelets bear three
equal, 1-inch awns.
GROWTH HABITS
Major growth occurs during the warm season, but
green growth can be seen year-round. Seedheads
usually form in late August or September, typically,
there are several culms per plant.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
This species occurs on a variety of sites and soil
types in the coastal plain from South Carolina to
Mississippi and throughout Florida. On sites in good
to excellent condition, bottlebrush threeawn is usually
limited to disturbed areas.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Bottlebrush threeawn is extremely unpalatable and
is considered an invader on all sites where it occurs.
This grass quickly becomes established on ranges that
have been overgrazed or where bad burning practices
are in use. Deferments during the growth periods of the
more preferred species can reduce the amount of bot-
tlebrush present.





































Aspect of bottlebrush threeawn







BROOMSEDGE BLUESTEM
(Andropogon virginicus)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Broomsedge bluestem is a warm-season, perennial
bunchgrass with culms 2-4 feet tall. Leaf blades are flat
to partially folded, 1/8-1/4 inch wide with a few scat-
tered hairs at the base on the upper side. The leaf
sheaths lapping at the base. The ligule is a fringed
membrane about 1/16 inch long. The inflorescence is
distributed up and down the culms with numerous
paired, feathery racemes partly enclosed within a straw-
colored, leaf-like spathe. The spathe is as long or longer
than the paired racemes.
GROWTH HABITS
The main growth period is from March through July,
throughout much of Florida, but growth may begin as
early as mid January, the seed matures by September
or October.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Broomsedge bluestem is widely distributed
throughout the southeastern United States. This grass
grows on a variety of soils but does best on those low
in fertility such as eroded, wornout fields. The plant is
shade tolerant.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
This grass is considered to be an increase on all ma-
jor sites where it occurs. Broomsedge provides fair
grazing during the spring, but forage values are low dur-
ing summer, fall and winter. The amount of broom-
sedge in the pasture can be decreased by heavy
utilization in the spring when the plants are most
palatable, followed by a deferment during the growth
phase of associated preferred grasses.









',












































Aspect of broomsedge bluestem























33







BUSHYBEARD BLUESTEM
(Andropogon glomeratus)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Bushybeard bluestem is a warm-season, perennial
bunchgrass with jointed culms growing 3-5 feet in
height. Leaves are 6-24 inches long and 1/4-1/2 inch'
wide. Sheaths are longer than the internodes, keeled,
and rough to the touch. The ligule is a membrane 1/16
inch long. The inflorescence is dense, feathery, and ag-
gregated at the tops of the culms. Racemes are paired,
3/8-11/4 inches long and partly enclosed in spathes of
about the same length.
GROWTH HABITS
The majority of vegetative growth occurs from
February through August; seedheads are produced in
September. Seeds mature in November in south
Florida, later in north Florida.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Bushybeard bluestem occurs throughout the
southern half of the United States. It is especially well
adapted to low, moist sites such as the margins of dit-
ches, marshes and ponds. It often invades disturbed
areas.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
This grass is considered an invader on all range sites.
Forage value is generally poor (little or none in the sum-
mer, fall and winter months). An increase in the abun-
dance of this species indicates overgrazing.



























Bushybeard bluestem inflorescence
Bushybeard bluestem inflorescence


Aspect of bushybeard bluestem







CARPET GRASS
(Axonopus spp.)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Three species occur in Florida; big carpetgrass (A.
furcatus), common carpetgrass (A. affinis) and tropical
carpetgrass (A. compressus). All are warm-season,'
stoloniferous, sod-forming perennials. Blades are flat
or folded, often ciliate, and rounded or only slightly
pointed at the tips. Big carpetgrass is the most robust
of the three with culms 16-40 inches tall and leaves
1/4-1/2 inches wide. The spikelets are born on multi-
ple spicate racemes positioned at or near the summit
of the culm. There are two racemes in big carpetgrass,
three to five in common, and tropical carpetgrass. Big
carpetgrass resembles bahiagrass (Paspalum
notatum), but the spikelets are more pointed. *
GROWTH HABITS
The carpetgrasses remain green year-long in
southern Florida, but are dormant from approximately
November-April in north Florida. Stolons and seeds are
produced throughout the growing season. The
carpetgrasses form pure stands, reproducing by both
seeds and stolons.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATIONS
One or more of the carpetgrasses are found
throughout the southeast on soils ranging from sands
to mucks and peats. All grow best on moist soils and
are not usually found on arid sandhill and oak-scrub
sites.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
All three species are considered invaders except on
the fresh marsh site where big carpetgrass is an in-,*
creaser. The carpetgrasses are considered fair-to-good
grazing during the summer months, but provide poor
quality winter roughage. Under heavy grazing,
carpetgrass replaces the productive bluestems,
paspalums and panicums.







































Aspect of carpetgrass







COGONGRASS
(Imperata cylindrica)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Cogongrass is a warm-season, perennial, rhizom-
atous grass. Culm height may vary from less than 1 foot
where mowed, to over 4 feet tall. Leaves often appear-
ing yellowish, are 12-24 inches long and flattened with
serrations on the edge and sharp tips. Inflorescences
are fluffy-white. Young shoots arising from rhizomes are
sharply pointed.
GROWTH HABITS
Cogongrass reproduces by seed or by a well-
developed rhizomes. Green vegetation may exist
throughout the year in south Florida, but major growth
occurs in spring and summer. Flowering may occur
year-round, but major flowering periods are in April-May
and in October. Solid, monotypic stands result where
this species grows.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Cogongrass was first introduced in Mobile, Alabama
in 1911. It now occurs throughout southern Alabama,
Mississippi and Florida. This grass grows on a variety
of sites. Its strong competitive nature allows it to total-
ly dominate a site. It is a native of southeastern Asia. *
USE AND MANAGEMENT
This species is an invader on all sites. It has been
used for soil stabilization on steep banks, but has
relatively little value as a forage. Due to its aggressive
and competitive nature, it is recommended that this
species be eradicated from all grazing areas, as it is
rated among the 10 worst weeds in the world.
.1









































Aspect of cogongrass






















39







HAIRAWN MUHLY
(Muhlenbergia capillaris)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Hairawn muhly is a warm-season, perennial
bunchgrass, 2-5 feet in height. Culms are rather
slender, and the leaf blades are 1-2 feet long, flat or,
rolled upon drying, 1/16-1/8 inch wide, and often curve
outward near the base exposing the firm ligule. In-
florescenses are as much as 18 inches long and 9 in-
ches wide, distinctly purple and diffuse.
GROWTH HABITS
This bunchgrass begins vegetative growth in spring
and flowers between September and October. Leaves
roll inward during periods of drought and upon sen-
escence. This species reproduces mainly by seed, but
estimate of seed production and viability are not known.'
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Hairawn muhly typically is found on north and south
Florida flatwoods sites. It occurs from Massachusetts
to Indiana and eastern Kansas and southward to
eastern Texas and Florida.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Palatable forage is produced from regrowth follow-
ing a fire, but as the plant matures, the leaves roll and''
palatibility is reduced. Deferred grazing during the
growing season will allow the preferred species a bet-
ter opportunity to compete.




































Aspect of hairawn muhly







JOHNSONGRASS
(Sorghum halepense)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Johnsongrass is a coarse, warm-season, perennial
grass with extensive, creeping rhizomes. It grows to 3-6
feet tall. Leaf blades are large, mostly 6-14 inches in *
length, 1/3-2/3 inches wide, and without hairs. The
inflorescence typically is 3-8 inches in length, open and
freely branched. Florets may have a pinkish tint.
GROWTH HABITS
This grass initiates vegetative growth in spring, and
flowering may occur throughout the year prior to frost.
Propagation is by both seed production and by
rhizomes.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Johnsongrass is found from Massachusetts to Iowa
and south to Florida, Texas and southern California.
It is a native of southern Europe, and now occurs
throughout the temperate and warmer regions of the
world. This plant invades fallow agricultural fields, road
shoulders, or any upland area with soil disturbance.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
This grass is an invader on all sites. In Texas this
grass is used to produce good quality hay. However,'
it is known to develop cyanogenetic compounds under
certain growth conditions and can be the cause of
prussic-acid poisoning in cattle. It is recommended that
this aggressive, invading species be eradicated from
all grazing areas, as it is rated among the 10 worst
weed species in the world.

A










A


































Johnsongrass inflorescence


Aspect of johnsongrass


43







LOW PANICUMS
(Dichanthelium spp.)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Low panicums are a much-varied genus. Sixteen
species occur in Florida, many with several varieties.
Low panicums are perennial, tufted grasses with three'
growth forms: winter rosettes, spring (vernal) growth
with seedheads, and summer (autumnal) growth with
seedheads. Culms are usually less than 18 inches in
height. Blades and sheaths are often pilose.
Seedheads on the spring growth usually exceed the
uppermost leaves, while autumnal seedheads often are
partly enclosed by the leaves.
GROWTH HABITS
(See Description)
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Low panicums are distributed throughout the United
States and Florida, and occur on virtually all sites. This
group of grasses usually is among the first plants to
become established on sites disturbed by plowing,
roller chopping, etc.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Low panicums are considered increases on all sites.
High-quality forage is produced by plants, but the quan-*
tity is relatively low when compared to the taller, more
robust species. Some green forage is usually present
during the winter months. An increase in low panicum
numbers in the higher condition classes often indicates
improper management, while the opposite may be true
when the increase occurs in the lower condition
classes.



































Aspect of low panicum







PINELAND THREEAVIN, WIREGRASS
(Aristida stricta)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Pineland threeawn is a cool-season, perennial bun-
chgrass, 11/2-3 feet tall. leaf blades are 12-20 inches
long, narrow, rolled inward, and hairy at the base.*
Seedheads are approximately 1 foot long atop seed-
stalks that may reach 3 feet. The panicle is slender and
the spikelets bear three nearly equal awns about
1/2-3/4 inch long.
GROWTH HABITS
Growth begins in January in south Florida and late
February or early March in north Florida. Growth is
rapid with leaf blades reaching 6-8 inches in the first
month. Seedheads are formed in May or June, but the
plants are poor seed producers. Short, thin rhizomes
may be found on plants in areas that have been recently
or repeatedly burned.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
This grass is found throughout Florida on a variety
of soils. Its range extends north to North Carolina and
west to Mississippi. Wiregrass grows best in the san-
dy soils of wet or dry flatwoods sites and is shade
tolerant.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Pineland threeawn is classified as an increase on
all major sites. It can comprise 80 or more percent (by
weight) of the community on flatwoods sites in poor con-
dition. The plants are palatable for only a short period
in the early spring and become wiry and unpalatable
by May or June. Improvement in site condition can be
had by grazing heavily during its period of palatability,.
followed by a deferment until the seed maturity of the
more desirable grasses. Wiregrass can be killed by
double chopping in early spring.













































Aspect of pineland threeawn







SAND CORDGRASS
(Spartina bakeri)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Sand cordgrass is a robust, warm-season, perennial
bunchgrass reaching a height of 3-5 feet. Leaf blades
are flat (rolled inward when dried), 1/4 inch wide and'
rough to the touch. Leaf sheaths are rounded. The in-
florescence is composed of five to twelve erect or
ascending, one-sided spikes, each 11/4-21/2 inches in
length.
GROWTH HABITS
Most growth occurs in the spring but continues until
the fall. Seed is formed in late May or June throughout
most of the state, but seed production is not common.
Mature plants may form bunches up to 2 feet in
diameter at the base.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
Sand cordgrass is found in the coastal plain of North
Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and throughout
the state of Florida on sand pond and fresh marsh sites.
This species tolerates periodic flooding during the grow-
ing season, but it is intolerant of saline soils.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Sand cordgrass is considered an increase on all'
sites where it occurs. Burning in the fall or winter can
produce fair-quality grazing in the spring, but the plant
is unpalatable for the remainder of the year. Stands of
sand cordgrass often harbor relict maidencane plants
that can form the basis for range improvement. Partial
control of this species can be obtained by heavy disk-
ing, but the treated area should be given a full grow-
ing season deferment to allow the more preferred.4
grasses (e.g., maidencane) to regain vigor.









p








































Aspect of sand cordgrass


i -
.~Flf,. ~







SANDSPUR
(Cenchrus spp.)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Seven species of sandspurs occur in Florida, and all
are similar in appearance. Annuals or perennials, sand-
spurs are commonly low and branching, with flat leaf-
blades and deciduous burs borne in racemes.
GROWTH HABITS
Annual species germinate from seed in spring and
complete their growth and seed production by early fall.
Seed production (inside the burs) is high, as this is the
only means of propagation.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
One or more species of Cenchrus occurs virtually
throughout the United States, but most are found in the,
coastal plain. Sandspurs occur on a variety of sites but
most do best on moist, sandy, disturbed soils such as
those found in old fields, waste places, and citrus
groves.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Sandspurs are considered invaders on all sites. They
usually indicate a severely overgrazed range, and the
burs can be injurious to livestock. Forage of fair to ex-
cellent value can be obtained from plants prior to the*'
formation of the burs. Heavy use during the period of
palatability followed by a deferred period aids in the
reduction of this species.





























Sandspur inflorescence

M '


Aspect of sandspur







VASEYGRASS
(Paspalum urvillei)

DESCRIPTION Non Preferred
Vaseygrass is a warm-season, perennial bunchgrass
growing 3-6 feet tall. Leaf blades are flat, 4-16 inches
long and 1/8-5/8 inch wide. Sheaths (esp. the lower).
are densely hairy. The inflorescence is a collection of
10-20 somewhat crowded, ascending spicate racemes.
Spikelets are piano-convex, ovate, 1/8 inch long, and
silky-ciliate on the margins.
GROWTH HABITS
This pale-green appearing grass begins growth in
early spring, with maximum production occurring bet-
ween May and September. Flowering can occur bet-
ween March and October.
DISTRIBUTION AND SITE ADAPTATION
This species was introduced from South America and
now is found in Southern California, Virginia to Florida,
and west to Texas. It is best adapted to moist, disturb-
ed soils such as those found along roadside ditches
and waste places The species is generally intolerant
of shade.
USE AND MANAGEMENT
Vaseygrass is considered an invader on all sites."
Severe overgrazing will encourage invasion. Forage
value of young leaf-material is fair, but mature plants
provide poor forage.














































Aspect of vaseygrass





DOCUMENT
APPENDIX I
ANNUAL of one season's or year's duration from
seed to maturity and death.
AWN a bristle or stiff, hairlike projection.
CILIATE fringed with hairs.
INFLORESCENCE the flowering portion of the
shoot; in grasses, the spikelets and the axis or
branch system that supports them.
PANICLE any inflorescence in which the spikelets
are not sessile or individually pediceled on the main
axis.
PEDICEL the stalk of a single spikelet.
PERENNIAL living for more than one year.
PILOSE with soft, straight hairs.
RACEME an inflorescence in which all the spikelets
are borne on pedicels inserted directly on the main
(undivided) inflorescence axis or in which some
spikelets are sessile and some pediceled on the
main axis.
RHIZOMATOUS having rhizomes.
SCABROUS rough to the touch.
SPATHE a large leaf-like structure enclosing an
inflorescence.
SPIKELET the basic unit of a grass inflorescence.
STOLONIFEROUS having stolons.
VILLOUS bearing long, soft, unmatted hairs.

44

































































Editor: Susan B. Grantham
Cover: Yaeko E. Duran

This public document was produced at a cost of
$833.20 or 19 cents per copy, to aid in the identifica-
tion of 24 grasses commonly found in Florida's
rangelands. 5-4.4M-86

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLOR-
IDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES,
K. R. Tefertliler, director, In cooperation with the United States
Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the
purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is
authorized to provide research, educational Information and other
services only to individuals and Institutions that function without regard to race, color,
sex or national origin. Single copes of Extension publications (excluding 4-H and Youth
publications) are available free to Florida residents from County Extension Offices.
Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers is available from C. M.
Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida,
Galnesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this publication, editors should contact 4
this address to determine availability.




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