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Brachyelytrum aristosum — northern long-awned wood grass

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New England distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America distribution

Adapted from BONAP data



Northern long-awned wood grass is found in moist forests in all New England states.




New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
8–16 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
6–10 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
14–26 mm
Leaf ligule length
1.8–2.5 mm
Anther length
2–3.5 mm
Show all characteristics
  • Flowers

    Anther length
    2–3.5 mm
    Anther number
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume keel
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is flat or curved in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 0
    • 1
    Glumes per spikelet
    • 1
    • 2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    • the inflorescence axis is arched or curved outward
    • the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very congested (crowded), and the branches may not be clearly seen without close inspection
    Inflorescence length
    66–175 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inflorescence width
    10–20 mm
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached right at the tip of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is straight or twisted, but not coiled one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    14–26 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma is straight
    Lemma base hair length
    0.2–0.5 mm
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma has hairs at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma keel hairs
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma tip shape
    the lemma tip tapers to a long narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma come together near the tip
    Lower glume length
    0–0.9 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is one third or less as long as the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea length
    7.7–11.5 mm
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is an extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    Spikelet length
    6–10 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    0.5–8 mm
    Spikelet shape
    the spikelets are lanceolate (lance-shaped, widest below the middle and tapering narrowly to the ends) in profile
    Spikelet width
    0.7–1.4 mm
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    0.6–3 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is up to one half as long as the lowest lemma
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds

    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
    Seed length
    5.5–7.5 mm
  • Growth form

    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant lives more than two years
    the plant has rhizomes (horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves

    Basal leaves
    the plant has few or no leaves coming from the base of the flowering stem
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf basal lobe hairy
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf is tapered gradually to the base
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade is hairy
    Leaf blade length
    6.9–16.1 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    8–16 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    1.8–2.5 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hairs
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place

    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
  • Stem, shoot, branch

    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes have hairs that stand out at a shallow angle, or they curve downwards
    Plant height
    28–96 cm
    Stem hairs
    the stem has hairs on it
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow singly or a few together (they may form diffuse colonies)
    Stem thickness at base
    0.6–1 mm

Wetland status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England distribution and conservation status


New Hampshire
Rhode Island

Conservation status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

unranked (S-rank: SNR)
widespread (S-rank: S5)

Native to North America?


Sometimes confused with

Brachyelytrum erectum:
lemmas pubescent with long, somewhat stiff hairs and ligules 2-3.5 mm long (vs. B. aristosum, with lemmas lacking hairs or with minute hairs and ligules 1.8-2.5 mm long).


  • Brachyelytrum erectum var. septentrionale Babel
  • Brachyelytrum septentrionale (Babel) G. Tucker
  • Dilepyrum aristosum Michx.



From the dichotomous key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Brachyelytrum aristosum (Michx.) Trel. in Branner & Coville N

northern long-awned wood grass. Brachyelytrum erectum (Schreb.) Beauv. var.  septentrionale Babel; B. septentrionale  (Babel) G. Tucker; Dilepyrum aristosum Michx. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Mesic forests and forest openings.