Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Tridens muticus


Introductory

SPECIES: Tridens muticus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Sullivan, Janet. 1992. Tridens muticus. 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 : TRIMUT SYNONYMS : Triodia mutica (Torr.)Scribn. SCS PLANT CODE : TRMU COMMON NAMES : slim tridens TAXONOMY : The accepted scientific name for slim tridens is Tridens muticus (Torr.) Nash. Recognized varieties are [9,11]: Tridens muticus (Torr.) Nash var. elongatus (Buckl.) Shinners Tridens muticus (Torr.) Nash var. muticus [9,11] LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Tridens muticus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Slim tridens occurs through much of the southwestern United States, from California to the southern Great Plains, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas south to central Mexico. It is widely distributed in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts [9,24,31]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES29 Sagebrush FRES30 Desert shrub FRES31 Shinnery FRES32 Texas savanna FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES40 Desert grasslands STATES : AR AZ CA CO KS NV NM OK TX UT MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K027 Mesquite bosque K038 Great Basin sagebrush K041 Creosotebush K042 Creosotebush - bursage K043 Paloverde - cactus shrub K044 Creosotebush - tarbush K053 Grama - galleta steppe K054 Grama - tobosa prairie K057 Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe K058 Grama - tobosa shrubsteppe K059 Trans-Pecos shrub savanna K060 Mesquite savanna K061 Mesquite - acacia savanna K071 Shinnery K084 Cross Timbers K085 Mesquite - buffalograss K086 Juniper - oak savanna K087 Mesquite - oak savanna SAF COVER TYPES : 66 Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper 67 Mohrs ("shin") oak 68 Mesquite 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 238 Western juniper 239 Pinyon - juniper 240 Arizona cypress 241 Western live oak 242 Mesquite SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Common shrub associates not listed as SAF cover types include: creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), wavyleaf oak (Quercus undulata), gray oak (Q. grisea), one-seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma), lechuguilla agave (Agave lechuguilla), smooth sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum), Opuntia spp., and catclaw mimosa (Mimosa biuncifera) [3,17,25,28,32]. Other common associates (forbs and grasses) include: skeleton goldeneye (Viguiera stenoloba), hairy grama (Bouteloua hirsuta), sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), threeawn (Aristida spp.), hairy tridens (Tridens pilosum), and curly leaf muhly (Muhlenbergia setifolia) [3,17,25,28,32].

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Tridens muticus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Slim tridens is palatable and moderately nutritious. It is eaten by all classes of livestock, mule deer and other herbivores, and collared peccary but is too scattered and low in abundance to be an important forage species [2,12,15,18,31]. Seeds are a source of food for rodents and birds [20]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Huston and others [13] reported the nutritional value of slim tridens as follows: Ash 7-12% Phosphorus 0.09-0.30% Protein 6-13% Digestible organic matter 36-57% Fudge and Fraps reported similar levels for slim tridens (slender triodia) [5]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : In general, dryland range sites are easily degraded by overgrazing, which decreases incidence of fire and allows woody species to invade [1]. Steuter [28] reported that perennial grass production on sites invaded by redberry juniper (Juniperus pinchotii) is less than half that of sites that are controlled for shrub invasion. McPherson and Wright [23] reported an inverse relationship between pinyon (Pinus spp.) or juniper (Juniperus spp.) and herb production (as pinyon or juniper cover increases, herb production decreases), and that in closed-canopy stands, junipers can exclude all herbaceous vegetation. In a related study of vegetative zonation around redberry juniper, slim tridens occurred at least 3.4 feet (1 m) from the edge of the canopy [22]. Slim tridens is not usually a major component of grasslands but may contribute up to 10 to 15 percent of the total production on some sites [20]. Gehlbach [6,7] and Blydenstein [2] reported that slim tridens increased in importance on study sites where grazing was excluded, which is in contrast to reports that slim tridens increases in response to grazing [3,20,23]. According to Leithead [20], abundance of slim tridens indicates fair to poor range condition. As a "warm-season", C4 grass, slim tridens has its highest rate of carbohydrate storage during autumn; therefore defoliation in the fall can contribute to winter-kill and cause loss of vigor during spring regrowth. It is recommended that pastures or ranges with an abundance of such grasses be grazed during the winter and spring [16,22]. Slim tridens is not considered a management species due to its scattered distribution and low importance value [6,7,12,18,20].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Tridens muticus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Slim tridens is a caespitose, stoloniferous, perennial grass, 8 to 30 inches (20-80 cm) tall. The bunches are usually narrow, not more than 3 or 4 inches (7 or 10 cm) in diameter [12,15,20]. It is considered a warm-season grass and exhibits C4 photosynthesis, which is adaptive for high temperatures and drought conditions [16,22]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Slim tridens perennates from a shallow rhizome. Vegetative reproduction occurs through production of stolons [15]. Slim tridens also reproduces by seed. Seed collected for restoration project seed mixes resulted in a germination rate (without any attempt at stratification, etc.) of 19.8 percent after 14 days [30]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Slim tridens occurs on dry plains, gravelly slopes, canyons and rocky hills up to 6,000 feet (1,829 m) [15,24]. It is adapted to well-drained, calcareous and rocky, sandy or clayey soils [9,20,24,32]. It tends to reach higher densities on the slightly wetter sites, such as elevations between 4,220 and 5,200 feet (1,286 and 1,585 m) [6]. Common shrub associates not listed as SAF cover types include: creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), wavyleaf oak (Quercus undulata), gray oak (Q. grisea), one-seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma), lechuguilla agave (Agave lechuguilla), smooth sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum), Opuntia spp., and catclaw mimosa (Mimosa biuncifera) [3,17,25,28,32]. Other common associates (forbs and grasses) include: skeleton goldeneye (Viguiera stenoloba), hairy grama (Bouteloua hirsuta), sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), threeawn (Aristida spp.), hairy tridens (Tridens pilosum), and curly leaf muhly (Muhlenbergia setifolia) [3,17,25,28,32]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species In a study of secondary succession on plots denuded by mechanical disturbance, Gehlbach [7] listed slim tridens as dominant in undisturbed plots. It occurred on disturbed plots only after three growing seasons, and it increased when cattle grazing was excluded from the site. Conversely, other authors have listed it as an increaser on cattle-grazed sites [3,20,23]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Slim tridens is a warm-season grass, beginning growth early in spring (late March in New Mexico) and actively growing through the summer, but with most growth in late spring. Two periods of flowering occur: from April to May and then again September to October. Seed heads are formed 3 to 5 weeks later [1,15,16,24].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Tridens muticus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Slim tridens perennates from rhizomes that are deep enough in the soil to resist damage by all but the most extreme fires. The types of habitats in which it occurs are not usually subject to such extreme fires because the fuel loading is usually low, and sparse grasses are often the main carriers of fire [17]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Tridens muticus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : A moderately hot fire will kill the aboveground portions of slim tridens, but survival of the rhizomes is usually good. Extremely hot fires will cause much more damage, especially among thin grasses not well protected by the buildup of vegetative material [17]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Perennial grasses in general undergo rapid postfire recovery and are usually improved as forage. Three years after a wildfire, slim tridens occurred in abundance with other grasses [17]. In a study to reduce shrub cover on a site invaded by redberry juniper, slim tridens showed no significant difference in cover value in the first two growing seasons after the shrub layer was chained then burned [28]. In other words, slim tridens was neither damaged nor improved by the fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Tridens muticus
REFERENCES : 1. Brown, David E. 1982. Semidesert grassland. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 123-131. [3603] 2. Blydenstein, John; Hungerford, C. Roger; Day, Gerald I.; Humphrey, R. 1957. Effect of domestic livestock exclusion on vegetation in the Sonoran Desert. Ecology. 38(3): 522-526. [4570] 3. Chew, Robert M. 1982. Changes in herbaceous and suffrutescent perennials in grazed and ungrazed desertified grassland in southeastern Arizona, 1958-1978. American Midland Naturalist. 108(1): 159-169. [4242] 4. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 5. Fudge, J. F.; Fraps, G. S. 1945. The chemical composition of grasses of northwestern Texas as related to soils and to requirements for range cattle. Bulletin No. 669. [Place of pulication unknown]: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. [5747] 6. Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1967. Vegetation of the Guadalupe Escarpment, New Mexico-Texas. Ecology. 48(3): 404-419. [5149] 7. Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1979. Biomes of the Guadalupe Escarpment: vegetation, lizards, and human impact. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 427-439. [16024] 8. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 9. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603] 10. Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2d ed. Chicago: The Swallow Press Inc. 666 p. [6851] 11. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165] 12. Humphrey, Robert R. 1960. Forage production on Arizona ranges. V. Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz Counties. Bulletin 502. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 137 p. [4520] 13. Huston, J. E.; Rector, B. S.; Merrill, L. B.; Engdahl, B. S. 1981. Nutritional value of range plants in the Edwards Plateau region of Texas. Report B-1375. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University System, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. 16 p. [4565] 14. Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie. 1980. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume II: The biota of North America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press; in confederation with Anne H. Lindsey and C. Richie Bell, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 500 p. [6954] 15. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563] 16. Kemp, Paul R. 1983. Phenological patterns of Chihuahuan desert plants in relation to the timing of water availability. Journal of Ecology. 71: 427-436. [5054] 17. Kittams, Walter H. 1973. Effect of fire on vegetation of the Chihuahuan Desert region. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, Texas. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 427-444. [6271] 18. Kittams, Walter H.; Evans, Stanley L.; Cooke, Derrick C. 1979. Food habits of mule deer on foothills of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 403-426. [16023] 19. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 20. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17553] 21. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373. [1496] 22. McPherson, Guy R.; Rasmussen, G. Allen; Wester, David B.; Masters, Robert A. 1991. Vegetation and soil zonation associated with Juniperus pinchoth Sudw. trees. Great Basin Naturalist. 51(4): 316-324. [18105] 23. McPherson, Guy R.; Wright, Henry A. 1990. Effects of cattle grazing and Juniperus pinchotii canopy cover on herb cover and production in western Texas. American Midland Naturalist. 123: 144-151. [11148] 24. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924] 25. Newman, George A. 1979. Compositional aspects of breeding avifaunas in selected woodlands of the southern Guadalupe Mountains, Texas. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 181-237. [16021] 26. Nickerson, Mona F.; Brink, Glen E.; Feddema, Charles, compilers. 1977. Principal range plants of the central and southern Rocky Mountains: names and symbols. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-20. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 121 p. [1752] 27. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 28. Steuter, Allen A.; Wright, Henry A. 1983. Spring burning effects on redberry juniper-mixed grass habitats. Journal of Range Management. 36(2): 161-164. [18716] 29. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 30. Walther, Judith C.; Sexton, M. K.; Hill, Allison; Crank, E. 1991. Seed specifications and testing techniques for wild-harvested seed mixes (Texas). Restoration & Management Notes. 9(2): 108. [17574] 31. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944] 32. Wilcox, Bradford P.; Wood, M. Karl. 1988. Hydrologic impacts of sheep grazing on steep slopes in semiarid rangelands. Journal of Range Management. 41(4): 303-306. [5228]


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