Plant Image
Plant - summer
Willow Lake Road
Sue Smith
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Chloris virgata - feather fingergrass

Synonyms: Chloris alba, C. alba var. aristulata, C. albertii, C. barbata var. décor, C. brachystachys, C. caudate and more. See SEINET.

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Plant image
Plant - summer

Willow Lake Road Sue Smith
Plant image
Basal leaves

Willow Lake Road Sue Smith
Plant image

Willow Lake Road Sue Smith
Plant image
Sheath and blade

Willow Lake Road Sue Smith
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Introduced    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Disturbed areas, roadsides and wastelands, swales and desert washes. Prolific on disturbed soils after summer rains, this species can form dense stands in many areas.
Plant Communities: Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 1000 - 5500 feet

General Description

Desc: A weedy, annual bunchgrass with weak, spreading stems and a shallow root system, usually decumbent (growing along the ground and then upward). Grows 24 to 48 inches in height. Distinct digitate (finger-like) branched seedhead.
Identification notes: Tufted annual, 4 to 30 inches tall; occasionally with stolons; sheaths smooth; stems trail and then bend upwards; ligules to 1/4 inch, irregularly dissected or fringed with hairs; blades flat or folded, 1/16 to 1/4 inch wide, smooth; digitate seedhead.
Grass Type: Annual  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - fingerlike  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jul - Sep

Flower Characteristics

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

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Several slender feathery branches 1 to 3 inches long, radiating finger-like from the end of a slender, erect stem. Silky, white or pinkish cast due to numerous long awns and hairy lemmas. Spikelets in two rows along one side of the finger-like branches.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or folded  
Blade Notes: Blades 2-1/2 to 10 inches long, 1/16 to 1/3 inch wide, densely covered with short hairs or with a few long hairs.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous and hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths usually smooth without hairs; ligules to 1/4 inch, irregularly notched at the apex, appearing gnawed or eroded or fringed with hairs on the margin.

Forage Value: Poor.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
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