Erianthus coarctatus Fernald

Locations ofErianthus coarctatus Fernald in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Erianthus coarctatus Fernald
Common Name
Compressed Plumegrass, Brown Plumegrass
Saccharum coarctatum (Fern.) R. Webster
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Erianthus coarctatus Fernald
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.

Most Virginia collections of this species have been called Erianthus brevibarbis, no doubt because most major manual treatments except for Gray's Manual subsumed E. coarctatus into a broader concept of E. brevibarbis. Solid evidence is lacking that Erianthus brevibarbis var. brevibarbis is present in Virginia. As far as we know, all Virginia "brevibarbis" (except var. contortus) is referable to E. coarctatus.
Wet, often peaty clearings, boggy power lines, and depression ponds. Rare in the s. and c. Coastal Plain; also collected in Spotsylvania County (outer n. Piedmont).
Native Status

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