Apr. 7, 2019

forked panic-grass, Dichanthelium dichotomum

These tiny little flowers cover all the bets! The spikelets are only 2 mm long. The plants don't get more than a couple of feet tall. The earliest flowers are likely to be pistillate only, preventing cross fertilization. Mixed among them will be a few unopened, self-fertilizing flowers. Later flowers like these come fully equipped. Why purple? I don't know, but I bet there's a reason that has to do with yet another pollination strategy. These bloom in late spring or early summer. But wait! Take one season and you get another free! In late summer or early autumn branches spring from the leaf nodes of the stem, and it starts all over. This time most of the flowers are self fertilizing. Forked panic-grass grows mostly under oak in AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, FL, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, NB, and ON. Ives FEn Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 6/9/14.