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Russ Kleinman @
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Paspalum distichum - knotgrass

Synonyms: Digitaria paspaloides, Paspalum distichum L. var. indutum, Paspalum paspaloides

Other Common Names: seashore paspalum, salt jointgrass, water finger-grass, Thompson grass, ginger grass, eternity grass

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Russ Kleinman @
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Found in riparian areas in wet soils and sometimes floating in shallow water.
Plant Communities: Riparian
Elevation: 3500 - 6000 feet

Similar Species: P. dilitatum

General Description

Desc: This is a spreading, extensively stoloniferous perennial that forms dense, extensive mats. Erect stems are 7 to 20 inches long and sometimes covered with short soft hairs. Stolons.
Identification notes: Perennial; extensive stolons; sheaths hairy; blades smooth; seedheads 2, rarely 1 or 3; spikelets 3 mm long; glumes smooth or sparsely hairy; first glume absent or vestigial. P. dilatatum taller; less stoloniferous; very hairy spikelets.
Grass Type: Perennial mat or sod-forming  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: Y
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): Y  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 12 to 24 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - fingerlike  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jun - Sep

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: One-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: Y
Awns: Absent   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedhead is a pair of branches in a V shape. There is sometimes a third branch. Awnless spikelets are tightly appressed in 2 rows along the spike, often with purple stigmas sticking out. Spikelet has 2 florets, the lower sterile and the upper bisexual.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Leaf blades are flat, 2 to 6 inches long, 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide, rolled upward on longitudinal edges. Blades may be smooth or sparsely hairy.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: Y  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths are mostly smooth but may be sparsely hairy. The edge of the collar usually has a few long hairs. Ligules are membranous and somewhat squared at the top. There are no auricles.

Forage Value: Knotgrass is grazed by many mammals and is a valuable food source for ducks.

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