Bothriochloa barbinodis (Lag.) Herter

by Ellen Dorn, Native Plants of Arizona 2004
Common names: Cane beardgrass, cane bluestem (1).
Family: Poaceae (1).
Synonymy: Andropogon barbinodis Lag., Andropogon perforatus Trin. Ex Fourn., Bothriochloa barbinodis var. palmeri (Hack.) de Wet, Bothriochloa barbinodis var. perforata (Trin. Ex Fourn.)Gould, Bothriochloa palmeri (Hack.) Gould (1).
Etymology: Bothriochloa: Bothrio- a pit or trench (Greek) and chloa- a blade of grass (Greek) (2).   Barbinodis: barba- beard (Latin) and nodus-a joint (Latin) (3).

Growth form: Coarse perennial warm season bunchgrass, 2 to 4 feet tall (4).
Roots: Coarse, fibrous (3).
Stem: Culms stout and densely bearded at nodes (5).
Leaves: Flat, mostly 3 to 5 in. long, scabrous on upper surface (3).
Inflorescence/flowers: Terminal numerous spicate branches (3). Each spicate branch comprised of repeating units of spikelet pairs, one sessile and perfect, the other pedicelled and sterile (6).
Fruit: Contained within floret, borne in tufts of long silvery hairs. Lemma tipped by a twisted awn about 2 to 3 long (3,5).
Similar species: Andorpogon saccharoides (Silver beardgrass) has shorter spikelets and glabrous nodes (7)

Life history: Coarse perennial warm season bunchgrass.
Native/introduced: Native to the United States (5).
Photosynthetic pathway: Probably C4 (8).
Phenology: April to October (5).
Distribution: Oklahoma to Texas , California and Mexico (5). Also found in Florida , South Carolina and Hawaii (9). In Arizona : Navajo and Coconino counties, south to Greenlee, Graham, Cochise, Santa Cruz and Pima counties. 1000 to 6000 feet. Grows in open sandy or gravelly ground and rocky slopes (7).

Fair to good forage when green (4,5). Can be used as an ornamental meadow grass (9).

1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) on-line database. ( ).

2. Borror, Donald J. 1960 (1971). Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. Mayfield Publishing Company, Palo Alto , California .

3. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1988. Range Plant Handbook. Dover Publications, Inc., New York , New York .

4. Grasses of Southeastern Arizona . (N.d.). Coronado RC&D Area, Inc. and Conservation Districts of Southeastern Arizona .

5. Gould, Frank W. 1951 (1993). Grasses of the Southwestern United States . University of Arizona Press, Tucson , Arizona .

6. Clark, Lynn G. and Richard W. Pohl. 1996. Agnes Chase's First Book of Grasses: the Structure of Grasses Explained for Beginners, Fourth Edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington , D.C.

7. Kearney , Thomas H., Robert H. Peebles and collaborators. 1960. Arizona Flora. Second edition with Supplement by John Thomas Howell, Elizabeth McClintock and collaborators. University of California Press, Berkeley , California .

8. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum . Phillips, Steven and Patricia Wentworth Comus, eds. 2000. A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert . Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Press, Tucson , Arizona . 

9. USDA, NRCS 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 ( ). National Plant Data Center , Baton Rouge , LA 70874-4490 USA .

10. Mielke, Judy. 1993. Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes. University of Texas Press, Austin , Texas .