Danthonia spicata (L.) Beauv. ex Roem. & J.A. Schult. (D. spicata var. pinetorum Piper, D. thermale Scribn.)
Densely tufted perennial grass, from fibrous roots, stems articulating at the nodes, (7) 10-70 (100) cm tall. Leaves mainly basal, soft-hairy to smooth, curled wit age, ligules less than 1 mm long, fringed with short hairs. Inflorescence a narrow panicle with 5-10 (18) spikelets, the lower branches with 2 or 3 spikelets, these with stalks shorter than the spikelets; spikelets 7-15 mm long; lemmas (2.5) 3-4 (5) mm long, soft-hairy, or sometimes smooth over the back, the apical teeth pointed to stiff-awned, 0.5-2 mm long, also awned from the back, the awns abruptly bent, 5-8 mm long, the calluses about as long as wide, with stiff hairs laterally; anthers to 2 mm long. Reproduction is by seed and layering. Flowers that can cross-fertilize are in the aerial panicle, self-fertilized flowers are contained within the leaf sheath. (Douglas et al 2001; Darbyshire and Cayquette, 1989; Grelen and Hughes, 1984)
Submontane to montane, trans-continental North American grass within boreal, temperate and cool mesothermal climates. Occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and precipitation. Characteristic of moisture deficient sites.
Sandy. rocky, strongly drained and shallow soils on water shedding sites.
Nitrogen-poor soils (more humus forms).
soil reaction salinity
Very dry to moderately dry.
Sporadic in open-canopy, young-seral forests. Climax on rock outcrops. Secondary successor of burned or cut sites.
bec zone subzone status
Rocky outcrops in Garry oak ecosystems.
The species of interest is a secondary successor on burned and anthropologically disturbed sites (Philipson 1986). Its ability to colonize after a disturbance is due to long periods of seed dormancy (Livingston and Allessio 1968).
Generally nutritional value is low, young, green blades eaten by cattle and ungulates (Skovlin, 1976). Provides fair cover for small mammals and birds (Dittberner and Olson, 1983).
seed collection time
July (from information on plants in Eastern US)
no seeds per kg
Dry seeds for two weeks (Shultz, 2001), store at 40ºf (van der Grinten, 2001)
fruit seed dormancy treatment
One month of cold, moist stratification (Shultz, 2001) No seed treatment necessary (van der Grinten, 2001). Seeds can be stored for decades (Shebitz, 2003). Maximum germination of seeds was investigated by Toole (1939) . Seeds taken from the Shenandoah National Forest in Virginia germinated best when temperatures were alternated between room temperature and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35ºC). A 71% sulfuric acid treatment weakened the seed coat, facilitating germination. Prechilling the seeds at 37 degrees Fahrenheit (3ºC) before room temperature germination with a potassium nitrate treatment was also effective. Seeds of poverty oatgrass are highly dormant but germinate readily on exposed mineral soil. Even if the aboveground population no longer exists, seeds may remain in soil for decades before a disturbance such as fire initiates another population (Scheiner, S.M., 1989).
|Method||Success Rate||Time of Collection|
|Plant division||For Danthonia californica, a member of the same genus and assumed to behave in a similar manner: In January (following dormancy period). Healthy plants were carefully divided by hand; potted plants were divided into plants with a sin-gle root system and placed into a vitamin B-1 solution for 15 minutes. Plants, placed in Ray Leach containers in greenhouse for 2 weeks, were kept moist to wet with time-controlled misters and air temperature maintained at 65-70ºF. They were then moved to lathhouse (Dyer, 2001). |
additional info and photos
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