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Dichanthelium

See list of 16 species in this genus

See references under Panicum for evidence for segregation of this genus. Many species of Dichanthelium flower twice during the growing season. In early to mid-summer, the chasmogamous primary panicle is produced at the summit of the main stem. Later, lateral branches and secondary panicles are produced, the secondary panicles are often partially or completely enclosed in leaf sheaths and are cleistogamous. Care needs to be taken when identifying species of Dichanthelium because the character states are sometimes different between the main stems and chasmogamous panicles and the lateral branches and cleistogamous panicles, the latter appearing in the later season. The following key is written for the main stems and chasmogamous panicles. Reference: Freckmann and Lelong (2003a).

  • 1a. Basal and lower stem leaf blades similar in shape, elongate and narrow, (6.3–) 9.6–30 times as long as wide, erect to ascending, crowded [Fig. 213]; reproductive stems with 2–4 leaves
    • 2a. Upper glume and lower lemma pointed at the apex and surpassing the upper 
(i.e., fertile) lemma by (0.2–) 0.5–1 mm; spikelets 3.2–4.3 mm long; terminal panicle with 7–20 (–25) spikelets
    • 2b. Upper glume and lower lemma rounded to subacute at the apex, not surpassing upper lemma or surpassing it by no more than 0.3 mm; spikelets 2–3.2 mm long; terminal panicle with (12–) 20–70 spikelets
  • 1b. Basal and lower stem leaf blades dissimilar, the crowded basal leaves ovate to lanceolate and spreading, 2.3–7.3 times as long as wide, the stem leaf blades longer and only rarely crowded; reproductive stems with 3–14 leaves
    • 3a. Leaf blades with a white or green-white cartilaginous margin, cordate at base; spikelets 1.4–1.8 mm long, obovoid-spherical, nearly as wide as long
    • 3b. Leaf blades without or with a poorly developed cartilaginous margin, cordate 
to narrowed at base; spikelets 0.8–5.2 mm long, ellipsoid to obovoid, distinctly longer 
than wide
      • 4a. Leaf sheaths viscid near the apex, especially on the surface away from the margins, long spreading-pubescent with ± soft hairs except near the base where moderately to densely retorse-pubescent above a prominent, glabrous, viscid band [Fig. 214]
      • 4b. Leaf sheaths not viscid near the apex, variously glabrous or pubescent, without or, less commonly, with a prominent band of retrorse pubescence at the base, lacking a viscid band at the base

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