Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Dichanthelium acuminatum


Introductory

SPECIES: Dichanthelium acuminatum
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1995. Dichanthelium acuminatum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

ABBREVIATION : DICACU SYNONYMS : Panicum lanuginosum Ell. [15,17,20,21,23,24,36,40,52] SCS PLANT CODE : DIAC2 DIACA DIACD DIACI DIACL DIACL2 DIACT DIACV2 DIACW COMMON NAMES : woolly panicum tapered rosette grass TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of woolly panicum is Dichanthelium acuminatum (Swartz) Gould & Clark (Poaceae) [4,20,26]. The following varieties are generally accepted [20,26]: D. a. var. acuminatum D. a. var. densiflorum (Rand & Redfield) Gould & Clark D. a. var. implicatum (Scribn.) Gould & Clark D. a. var. lindheimeri (Nash) Gould & Clark D. a. var. longiligulatum (Nash) Gould & Clark D. a. var. thurowii (Scribn. & J. G. Smith) Gould & Clark D. a. var. villosum (Gray) Gould & Clark D. a. var. wrightianum (Scribn.) Gould & Clark The above taxa have received many treatments. In 1910, Hitchcock and Chase placed some Panicum species into the subgenus Dichanthelium, which was elevated to generic status by Gould in 1974. Gould and Clark extensively revised Dichanthelium in 1978 [20]. Freckmann produced a revision in 1981, reassigning some of the above D. acuminatum varieties to species level [15]. This writeup will follow the treatment of Gould and Clark [20]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Dichanthelium acuminatum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Woolly panicum is widespread in the Americas. It occurs throughout the United States and in Canada from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia west to British Columbia. Its distribution extends from eastern Mexico south to northern South America and it is found in the Antilles [8,14,17,21,22,23,24,27,29,40]. ECOSYSTEMS : Woolly panicum occurs in most ecosystems. STATES : AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC PR VI AB BC MB NB NF NS ON PE PQ SK MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : Woolly panicum occurs in most Kuchler Plant Associations. SAF COVER TYPES : Woolly panicum occurs in most SAF Cover Types. SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Woolly panicum occurs in many habitat types and within diverse plant communities. On dry prairie ridges of central Wisconsin sand plains, associates of woolly panicum include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), skyblue aster (Aster oolentangiensis), heath aster (A. ericoides), forked threeawn (Aristida basiramea), parasol sedge (Carex umbellata), poverty oatgrass, prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), tall gayfeather (Liatris aspera), and Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) [50]. In central and northwestern Wisconsin, woolly panicum is found on sandy outwashes and former lake bottoms. Associates include ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya), clasping milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis), longbranch frostweed (Helianthemum canadense), Kalm's hawkweed (Hieracium kalmii), hairy hawkweed (H. longipilum), racemed milkwort (Polygala polygama), and Virginia tephrosia (Tephrosia virginiana) [46]. On the west slope of the Sierra Nevada in Placer County, California, woolly panicum occurs in grazed meadows which follow natural drainages. Associates include Thurber's bentgrass (Agrostis thurberiana), other bentgrasses (Agrostis spp.), California oatgrass (Danthonia californica), pullup muhly (Muhlenbergia filiformis), sedges (Carex spp.), rushes (Juncus spp.), woodrushes (Luzula spp.), white clover (Trifolium repens), seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), primrose monkeyflower (M. primuloides), trailing St. Johnswort (Hypericum anagalloides), and violets (Viola spp.) [1]. In the Adirondacks of New York, woolly panicum associates include Pickering's reedgrass (Calamagrostis pickeringii), bluejoint reedgrass (C. canadensis), northern reedgrass (C. stricta ssp. inexpansa), sedges, poverty oatgrass (Danthonia spicata), threeway sedge (Dulichium arundinaceum), rattlesnake mannagrass (Glyceria canadensis), narrowpanicle rush (Juncus brevicaudatus), brownfruit rush (J. pelocarpus), bog muhly (Muhlenbergia uniflora), whitebeaked rush (Rhynchospora alba), and low bulrush (Scirpus cespitosus) [51].

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Dichanthelium acuminatum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Woolly panicum is useful as a soil stabilizer and for restoring degraded areas [23]. However, in some locations it declines in importance after a few years as other species increase in cover. By 1976, woolly panicum was thriving along a section of highway in Peoria, Illinois, that had been planted to prairie vegetation in November 1966. Prairie seeds had been broadcast over hard-packed clay soil that had been loosened [5]. Prairie was reestablished at Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas. The original prairie had been turned to agricultural use. The site was plowed in early June 1975, and a seed mixture (not including woolly panicum) was hand-broadcast on each plot. Vegetation was sampled in early fall of 1975 and in late spring and early fall for 4 years thereafter. Woolly panicum established in the fall of the first year and persisted for the 5 years of the study. However, it was prominent only in the 2-year-old plots. Seeded prairie grasses in the restoration plots have increased, and other grasses including woolly panicum have decreased. Mean percent cover of woolly panicum on 1- to 5-year-old plots based on spring (S) and fall (F) sampling was as follows [6]: Plot Age in Years 1 2 3 4 5 F S F S F S F S F 0.5 4.8 5.0 2.1 1.6 0.5 0.0 1.0 0.0 Woolly panicum was a component of 4-year-old and 8-year-old reestablished prairies in southwestern Ohio [31]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Woolly panicum does not respond uniformly to grazing. In the Sierra Nevada in Placer County, California, woolly panicum was present in meadows which were grazed May 30 to September 30 each year from 1979 to 1986. Utilization of meadow species averaged 61 percent over the 10 years, but increased to more than 80 percent after 1985. Woolly panicum increased from 0.8 to 2.1 percent relative cover over that time [1]. In a 12-year study of grazing intensity in central Louisiana, the frequency of several species, including woolly panicum, was greater on ungrazed than on moderately or heavily grazed range. However, differences owing to grazing intensity were considered "small and relatively unimportant" [11].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Dichanthelium acuminatum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Woolly panicum is a native, perennial bunchgrass [8]. It is polymorphic, having early and late season forms of the same plant. Vernal culms are tufted, usually unbranched and radiating from the base, and 6 to 32 inches (15-80 cm) tall [14,17,36]. Early leaf blades are 1.6 to 3.9 inches (4-10 cm) long [21,22]; panicles are pyramidal and 1.2 to 4.7 inches (3-12 cm) long [14,21,24]. Autumnal culms are decumbant and much-branched, mostly from the middle nodes; they produce dense fascicles of leaves and inflorescences [19,24]. Fall culm leaf blades are shorter, narrower, and more crowded than early blades. Winter rosette blades are also short, but are relatively broad. Late panicles are reduced and often partly enclosed in leaf sheaths [21]. Spikelets are awnless [4]; the fruit is a caryopsis [36]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Woolly panicum reproduces by seeds; it does not have rhizomes or stolons [17,22]. Vernal panicles are open and produce chasmogamous flowers. Autumnal panicles are reduced [20] and often are partly enclosed in the leaf sheaths [17]; these enclosed flowers are self-pollinated [21]. Woolly panicum seeds can be found in the seedbank, but presence of woolly panicum vegetation does not necessarily correspond to presence in the seedbank. In southwestern Ohio, five unburned old-field-deciduous forest sites were surveyed for vegetational and seedbank presence. Woolly panicum was present as vegetation and in the seedbank at two sites, present only as vegetation at two sites, and not present in either form at one site [37,47,48]. In Harvard Forest at Petersham, Massachusetts, woolly panicum was a widespread seedbank component in old fields and white pine (Pinus strobus) stands. It was not a component of the herbaceous ground cover at any site [30]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Woolly panicum occurs in a wide variety of habitats. It is found in woodlands [19,24] woodland borders, and recently cleared woodland areas. It occurs on prairies [22], dunes, seashores [17], and along open roadsides [20]. It grows along the banks of rivers and lakes [29] and in marshes, swamps and swales [20]. It is found along the shorelines of bogs [39], pondcypress (Taxodium distichum) ponds [4], and around hotsprings [9]. Woolly panicum grows on many soil types. It occurs on heavy, wet soils [39], silty loam [2,11,48], sandy loam with high organic content [12], moist to dry sand [14,20,24,34,46,49], and gravelly, often calcareous soils [49]. Soils are often acidic [12]. In southern Quebec near Montreal, woolly panicum grows on fine loamy sand with pH 6.1; the soil is low in magnesium and very low in calcium and nitrogen [43]. Woolly panicum has been reported from the following elevations: Feet Meters Arizona 4,000-6,500 1,219-1,981 [27] California < 8,531 < 2,600 [23] Colorado 3,500-5,500 1,067-1,676 [8,22] New York < 5,348 < 1,630 [51] Utah 3,510-7,317 1,070-2,230 [52] Mexico 98-9,843 30-3,000 [19] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Woolly panicum appears in early secondary succession. It does not appear in old-growth forests, but is found in stands of intermediate age. In southwestern Ohio, woolly panicum occurred in all but the oldest of a chronosequence of five unburned old-field-deciduous forest sites; the sites were surveyed nine times during the 1980 growing season. Site 1 was an old field abandoned for 2 years and dominated by red clover (Trifolium pratense). Site 2 was an old field abandoned for 10 years and dominated by Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis). Site 3 was an old field abandoned for 50 years and dominated by Canada goldenrod, with white ash (Fraxinus american) and black cherry (Prunus serotina) providing about 30 percent canopy cover. Site 4 was an old field abandoned for 90 years and dominated by a forest of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and slippery elm (Ulmus rubra). Site 5 was an old-growth American beech (Fagus grandifolia) and sugar maple dominated forest which was over 200 years old. Woolly panicum was present but not common at site 1; its seeds were present in the seedbank. It was present in "disturbed" vegetation at site 2; its seeds were not found in the seedbank. Woolly panicum was a common species in "disturbed" vegetation at site 3; its seeds were found in the seedbank. It was present but not common at site 4; its seeds were not found in the seedbank. Woolly panicum was not present nor found in the seedbank at site 5 [37,47,78]. In upland oak-pine forest sites in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, woolly panicum did not occur in the flora but appeared to persist in the seedbank. Its persistence was attributed to infrequent local disturbance [32]. Woolly panicum was found in marshes of a Connecticut River oxbow in western Massachusetts in 1984, though it had not been present in 1974. Woolly panicum was found only in the highest and driest areas of the marshes, at low cover (<0.5%) and frequency (1%). During high water, much of the marsh area is flooded. The appearance and disappearance of woolly panicum was probably due to variations in water level during the study period [25]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Woolly panicum produces a basal rosette during autumn and winter. Primary inflorescences develop and bloom on elongated unbranched culms that grow from the rosettes early in spring. Late spring, summer, and autumn growth of the same culms produces fascicles of short, branched and rebranched lateral shoots with greatly reduced leaves and lateral inflorescences which also bloom. Woolly panicum thus has two main flowering periods [20]. Woolly panicum flowering times are: California June-August [35] Florida May-September [4] Illinois May-October [34] New York June-July [10] West Virginia June-September [42] Eastern United States May-November [14] Great Plains May-June [21] through fall New England June-September [40] Southeastern United States May-August [36] Southern United States begins [20] February-March

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Dichanthelium acuminatum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Woolly panicum has basal buds [21] which may sprout after aerial portions are burned. If thick tufts form, they may protect the basal buds from fire damage. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tussock graminoid Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Dichanthelium acuminatum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Woolly panicum culms and leaves are probably killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Woolly panicum presence in response to fire varies with frequency and severity of fire. Woolly panicum occurs with greater frequency following annual fires than following less frequent fires. It has lowest frequency where there are no fires [7,12,31,33]. However, if the fire is severe enough to damage buds and roots, woolly panicum presence declines [2]. Fire reduces woolly panicum flowering [2,18]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Woolly panicum was subjected to annual or periodic surface fires in upland oak forests in Franklin County, Tennessee. Data were collected each September from 1965 to 1970. Burning on annual burn plots began in 1963; periodic burn plots were treated in 1964 and 1969. All fires were in late winter. Woolly panicum occurred with greatest frequency on annually burned plots, with intermediate frequency on periodically burned plots, and with lowest frequency on unburned plots [7]. A 90-year-old red pine (Pinus resinosa) and white pine stand in Chalk River, Ontario, was surveyed for vegetation in late August of 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. Prior to burning, the site was dominated by shrubs and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) saplings. Fires were conducted on June 15 of 1970 and 1971. Total reduction in depth of the organic layer was approximately 30 percent. Fuel consumption of the forest floor was confined to the litter layer; the duff was almost undisturbed. Postfire cover was dominated by herbaceous species. Woolly panicum was absent from prefire permanent plots but occurred in the plots in postfire years 1 to 4. However, it did not become important in terms of density or biomass during the time of the study [33]. Woolly panicum was a component of a pitcher plant (Sarracenia alata) bog in Harrison County, Mississippi, that had been burned annually in winter over the previous 7 years [12]. In southwestern Ohio, woolly panicum was a component of an 8-year-old prairie which was established in 1979 and burned in 1983 [31]. In southern Illinois grassland, woolly panicum declined sharply, from 18,415 to 1,080 flowering culms per acre (45,486-2,668 culms/ha), following fire. Plots had been undisturbed from 1950 to 1969. Plots were sampled in August 1969. Burning was conducted December 1, 1969. The fire was moderate, resulting in nearly complete consumption of the heavy litter accumulation from years of fire protection. Postfire sampling of burned and control plots was done from June through September 1970. Woolly panicum had the greatest decrease in frequency following burning of any species sampled, probably because of damage to its buds and roots. Response of woolly panicum to the fire was [2]: Frequencies (%) Control Burn 1969 1970 1969 1970 24.6 26.3 42.5 0.8 In Illinois, woolly panicum showed a 94 percent decrease in flowering following a spring fire [18]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Dichanthelium acuminatum
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