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Erianthus Michaux. Subfamily: Panicoideae. Tribe: Andropogoneae. Subtribe: Saccharinae. supertribe: Andropogonodae. clade: "PACMAD". Plumegrass.

Key to Erianthus

A genus of 9-10 species, perennials, of the New World. While Clayton & Renvoize (1986) stated that the “traditional division [of Saccharum] into awned (Erianthus) and awnless species seems wholly artificial”, Hodkinson et al. (2002) and others have developed molecular evidence which suggests that our species are not congeneric with Saccharum. It seems best to retain our species in Erianthus, following Soreng et al. (2015) and Lloyd Evans, Joshi, & Wang (2019).

Key advice:Awn twisting is best judged from dry material, either herbarium specimens or mature (and dry) material in the field. With material that is not fully dry, a good "life hack" is to leave all or part of an inflorescence on the dashboard of a car to dry. Alternatively, the awn base is terete or nearly so in species in which the awn does not twist, and is distinctly flattened in species in which the awn twists (it is the flattened portion in the lower portion of the awn that provides the mechanism for the twist).

Ref: Gandhi & Dutton (1993); Hodkinson et al. (2002); Lloyd Evans, Joshi, & Wang (2019); Soreng et al. (2015); Ward (2001); Webster (2003) In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2003a); Webster & Shaw (1995). Show full citations.

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image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Erianthus strictus | Original Image ⭷


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