Spike Trisetum

Spike Trisetum, Courtesy of Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Photo Courtesy of Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, http://www.bugwood.org/

Common Name(s):

Spike Trisetum
Narrow False-oats

Scientific Name(s):

Trisetum spicatum (L.) Richter

Scientific Name Synonyms:

Aira spicata L.
Trisetum montanum Vasey
Trisetum subspicatum (L.) Beauv.
Trisetum triflorum (Bigelow) A.&D. Love
Trisetum villosissimum (Lange) Louis-Marie

Symbol:

TRSP2

Description:

Life Span: Perennial
Origin:  Native
Season:  Cool

 

Growth Characteristics:  An erect, densely tufted bunchgrass, without rhizomes, growing 2 to 20 inches tall.   It flowers July – August.

Seedhead: A dense, spikelike panicle, 1 to 4 inches long, that is greenish or purplish in color. Spikelets are up to 1/4 inch long, numerous, and usually contain two florets. Lemmas are short-hairy at the base and two-toothed at the tip. It has a bent, twisted awn about 3/8 inches long arising from the back of the lemma.

 

Leaves: Leaf blades are flat or rolled at maturity, 2 to 6 inches long, pubescent to hairy. The sheaths are hairy and ligules are membranous and up to 1/8 inch long. The collar is shaped and serrated on the margin. Auricles are absent.

Stems:  Stems are erect and usually smooth.

Ecological Adaptations:

Spike trisetum commonly occurs in open parks and near the treeline in conifer and aspen woods, along streams and in alpine meadows and gentle slopes. It is found at elevations from 5,000 to 13,500 feet where annual precipitation is greater than 18 inches. At lower elevations it depends as much on run-in water as it does upon natural rainfall.

 

Soils: Spike Trisetum prefers deep, well-drained, medium textured (loamy), well-developed soils.

Associated Species:  Includes alpine timothy, tufted hairgrass, redtop, Kentucky bluegrass, and Nebraska sedge

Uses and Management:

Spike trisetum is a fairly early growing grass and has good forage value for livestock and wildlife for spring grazing in the lower elevations and later in the higher elevations. It is not a very abundant grass but is valuable as part of the grass association for stabilization of watersheds and for landscape beauty.
Management involves rational use and occasional rest from grazing during its critical growth and food storage period.