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purple spear grass, stipoid ricegrass


20-60 cm, erect to ascending;

nodes 2-4, dark, glabrous.


glabrous or hispidulous towards the collar;

ligules 0.8-2 mm, glabrous, abaxial surfaces scabridulous, margins occasionally ciliate;

blades (5)14-30 cm long, 0.2-0.4 mm wide, linear, glabrous or villous, margins scabridulous.


4-15 cm long, 1.5-3 cm wide, with 10-70 spikelets;

branches ascending, scabridulous;

pedicels 1-11 mm, hispid.


subequal, 4-8.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, purple towards the base, glabrous, 5-veined, apices aristulate;

florets 2.3-4(5) mm long, 0.8-2.3 mm thick, obovoid, globose to laterally compressed;

calluses 0.5-0.6 mm, blunt, hairs white to golden tan;

lemmas shiny, glabrous, striate, dark brown to black at maturity, wholly smooth to conspicuously verrucose or sharply papillose, at least distally, constricted below the crown;

crowns well-developed, 0.6-1.6 mm wide, distal margins slightly to strongly revolute, inner surfaces densely covered with hooks and hairs;

awns 15-25 mm, eccentric, twice-geniculate, tardily deciduous;

paleas 2.5-5 mm;

lodicules 2, linear;

anthers about 0.5 mm.


1.5-2.5 mm, spherical to ellipsoid.


= unknown.

Piptochaetium stipoides

from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Piptochaetium stipoides is native to South America. There is one known population in the Flora region, in Marin County, California, which grows with P. setosum in a meadow adjacent to an old dirt road. The origin of the population is not known; it has been suggested that the seeds might have been brought in by birds, as the area was a bird refuge at one time.

The Californian plants belong to Piptochaetium stipoides (Trin. & Rupr.) Hack. var. stipoides, which differs from the only other variety recognized by Cialdella and Arriaga (1998), P. stipoides var. echinulatum Parodi, in having lemmas that are mostly smooth as well as a less revolute crown.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 24, p. 166.
Parent taxa Poaceae > subfam. Pooideae > tribe Stipeae > Piptochaetium
Sibling taxa
P. avenaceum, P. avenacioides, P. fimbriatum, P. pringlei, P. setosum
Synonyms P. stipoides var. purpurascens
Name authority (Trin. & Rupr.) Hack.
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