This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Dioecious grasses, with rigid culms creeping or decumbent at the base, flat or convolute leaf-blades and spike-like paniculate inflorescence. Spikelets flattened, more numerous on the staminate plants than on the pistillate, 6-16-flowered; rachilla continuous in the staminate spikelets, articulated in the pistillate. Two lower scales empty, narrow, keeled, acute, shorter than the flowering ones; flowering scales broader, many-nerved, acute, rigid; palets 2-keeled. Stamens 3. Styles thickened at the base, rather long, distinct. Stigmas long-plumose. Grain free, enclosed in the scale and palet. [Greek, signifying two-ranked, probably in reference to the spikelets.]
Four known species, natives of America, inhabiting the seacoast or alkaline soil; one of them is also found in Australia. Type species: Disticlilis maritima Raf.
Uniola spicata L. Sp. PI. 71. 1753.
Distichlis maritima Raf. Journ. Phys. 89: 104. 1819. Uniola stricta Torr. Ann. Lye. N. Y. 1: 155. 1824. D, spicata Greene, Bull. Cal. Acad. 2: 415. 1887. Distichlis spicata var. stricta Scribn. Mem. Torr. Club 5: 51 1894.
Glabrous throughout, culms 3'-2° tall, erect from a horizontal rootstock, or often decumbent at the base. Sheaths overlapping and often crowded; ligule a ring of very short hairs; blades 1/2'-6' long, 1"-2" wide, flat or involute; panicle dense and spike-like, 3/4'-2 1/2' in length, the branches 1' long or less, erect; spikelets 6-16-flowered, 4"-9" long, pale green; empty scales acute, the first 1-3-nerved, two-thirds as long as the 3-5-nerved second one; flowering scales 1 1/2"-2\" long, acute or acuminate.
On salt meadows along the coast from Nova Scotia to Texas, in saline soil throughout the interior, and on the Pacific Coast north to British Columbia. Also in the Bahamas and other West Indies. The main figure is that of the staminate plant. June-Sept.