Dichanthelium ensifolium (Baldw. Ex Elliot) Gould
Synonymy: Dichanthelium dichotomum (L.) Gould var. ensifolium (Baldw. Ex Elliot)Gould and C.A. Clark; Panicum ensifolium Baldw. Ex Elliot; Panicum ensifolium Baldw. Ex Elliot var. curtifolium (Nash) LeLong; Panicum dichotomum L. var. ensifolium (Baldw. Ex Elliot) C.F. Reed
Lower Taxa: none
Habit: Perennial, rosette forming grass
Habitat: Wetlands; Outer Coastal Plain palustrine forests, stream banks, Sphagnum moss
Range: Outer Coastal Plain; PB
Flowering & Reproduction: Early Summer, June-early July, vernal panicles, autumnal panicles late July-September; spikelets mature within month of pollination
Comments: Dichanthelium ensifolium is a cespitose rosette panic grass found in scattered colonies under red maple hardwood and Atlantic white cedar wetlands. Its diminutive size and clumping habitat along with its pubescent spikelet separate this species from the other small rosette panic grasses found in similar Southern New Jersey wetland habitats, Dichanthelium lucidum (Ashe) Mohlenbrock. Mary Hough (1983) identifies collections in all southern counties except Salem and Cumberland. I have personally observed the species in Cumberland County, in the vicinity of Bennett’s Mill.
Unlike the FNA treatment, FNJ does not subscribed to the recent lumping of the Dichotomum tribe into one polymorphic species. We concur they form a genetic swarm of inter related groups, but it is FNJs position they have separated into individual species. In New Jersey’s wide suite of ecological regions, we do not see the rationale, either pragmatic or taxonomic, for the nomenclature hierarchy published in Volume 25 of the FNJ. Habitat distinctions, morphological variations and other obvious features clearly form a basis to retain species level designations for those eliminated by the recent treatment.
Reference Specimen: [To be provided.]
Current distribution map reflects author, Chrysler herbarium specimens and Mary Hough, 1983.