Erianthus contortus Ell.

Locations ofErianthus contortus Ell. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Erianthus contortus Ell.
Common Name
Spiral-awned Plumegrass, Short-beard Plumegrass
Erianthus brevibarbis Michx. var. contortus (Ell.) D.B. Ward; Saccharum brevibarbe (Michx.) Pers. var. contortum (L.) R. Webster
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Erianthus contortus Ell.
Hodkinson et al. (J. Pl. Res. 115, 2002) developed molecular evidence that our native plume grasses (traditional New World Erianthus spp.) are not congeneric with Old World Saccharum. Instead, they form a poorly resolved clade with the African genus Miscanthidium Stapf 1908 and other genera. The relationship to Miscanthidium is very uncertain, but if combined, Erianthus Michx. 1803 has nomenclatural priority. There may be other interpretations once these groups are studied with more data (R. Soreng, pers. comm.). At least for now, Erianthus appears to be the best generic placement of our species.
Moist to wet clearings, ditches, roadsides, old fields, and disturbed flatwoods. Common in the Coastal Plain; infrequent in the outer Piedmont; rare in the inner Piedmont and mountains.
Native Status

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