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ROADWEEDS OF THE UPPER PENINSULA


Grasses                                                                                                                                                                    

Grass species can be difficult to identify, but there are certain grasses we commonly see but don't know the names of.   Often, it is the seed head that has distinctive characteristics.  The following are some of the common sights along our roadsides.

    An alien (or exotic species)             Can be easily seen while driving          More information


Timothy1.jpg (26477 bytes)
Summer

Common Name:  Timothy Grass                     
Latin Name: 
Phleum pratense     
Family: 
Gramineae          

Timothy grass is one of our most common grasses.   It's tight, cigar-shaped flower heads are easy to spot.  They are similar to the foxtails (Setaria spp.), but appear with shorter "hairs".   The heads are 1-2 inches long.  According to Voss, we do have a native Phleum in the U.P., but it only occurs on the Keweenaw peninsula.   However, the DNR lists it as no longer growing in the state.


ReedCanary1.jpg (30116 bytes)
Summer

Common Name:  Reed Canary Grass     
Latin Name:  Phalaris arundinacea                 
Family: 
Gramineae          

Reed canary grass forms thick colonies of grass with blades about a 1/2-inch wide.  It prefers soils that retain some moisture during most of the growing season and is more common in marshes and along ditches.  In general appearance, the seed head is dense, rough-looking, and somewhat flattened.  The grassy part usually stands 1-2 tall. 


RedTop1.jpg (34359 bytes)
Summer

Common Name:  Red Top         
Latin Name: 
Festuca rubra
Family: 
Gramineae          

Red top is one of the several fescues which are sold for lawn seed.  As the name suggests, the loosely arranged, delicate-looking seed head is reddish-brown in color.  Individual seeds are easy to see.  Grass blades slender. Plants stand 2-3 feet tall. 


Sbrome1.jpg (40449 bytes)
Summer

Common Name:  Smooth Brome                            
Latin Name: 
Bromus inermis
Family: 
Gramineae   

 Like red top, smooth brome also has a spreading, delicate-looking seed head.  However, the seeds of smooth brome are longer, maybe a half-inch.  They look a bit like beech buds (if that helps).  Blades are 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.


Beach1.jpg (41564 bytes)
Summer

Common Name:  Beach Grass                                       
Latin Name: 
Ammophila breviligulata
Family: 
Gramineae    

Beach grass is most commonly found in very sandy places such as beaches, dunes, and right-of-ways.  Where roads pass through sandy outwash plains, beach grass can sometimes be found.  It grows in clumps up to 2-3 feet tall.   The flower spikes are rough-looking and about 10-15 inches long. 


Roadweeds Home Page


This website was constructed by Bill Cook. If you have questions or comments about the information on this page, contact Bill

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