Plant Image
Plant - fall
Oak Creek, N. of Sedona
Max Licher @
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Aristida ternipes - spidergrass

Synonyms: Aristida schiedeana var. minor, Muhlenbergia scabra, M. tenuis, Ortachne scabra, O.tenuis, Streptachne cubensis, S. scabra, S. tenuis 

Other Common Names: spider threeawn

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Plant - summer

Oak Creek, N. of Sedona Max Licher @
Plant image
Plant - fall

Oak Creek, N. of Sedona Max Licher @
Plant image
Seedhead - summer

Oak Creek, N. of Sedona Max Licher @
Plant image
Seedhead - fall

Oak Creek, N. of Sedona Max Licher @
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Rocky or sandy slopes and plateaus, often along roadsides and other disturbed areas.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: Below 6000 feet

General Description

Desc: Coarse, tufted grass; seedhead stems erect to sprawling, seedheads airy; roots tough and wiry.
Identification notes: Blades up to 16 inches long, roll inward toward their end tapering to a fine point; basal portion of awn not spirally twisted; lateral awn branches less than 1/16 inch long or wanting; lemma not articulate (jointed) with the base of the awn.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - open and spreading  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Aug - Oct

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: One-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: 1/4 inch to 1 inch   Three Awns: Y  Awns Bent: Y

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedhead 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the flower stem, branches few, spread away from the central stem, hairy in axils. Awns not or only slightly twisted. Central awns <1/2 to 1 inch, straight to curving; lateral awns absent or to 1 inch long.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or folded  
Blade Notes: Blades 2 to 6 inches long, <1/8 inch wide, flat to folded, straight to lax at maturity, lower surfaces with scattered, <1/8 inch hairs near the collar.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths usually longer than the internodes, smooth without hairs; collars smooth without hairs or rough with short stiff hairs or bristles; ligules less than 1/16 inch.

Forage Value: Fair to poor. It greens up after the spring rains more rapidly than most grasses and is used most heavily at this time. It is grazed lightly after other, more palatable grasses begin to grow.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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