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..
Annual or perennial grasses, tufted or from rootstocks, with flat or involute leaf-blades, and spikelike racemes, singly disposed, terminating the culm or its branches. Internodes of the articulated rachis cup-shaped or crowned at the apex with a toothed or bifid appendage. Spikelets in pairs at each node of the frequently hairy rachis, one sessile, the other pedicellate. Sessile spikelet dorsally compressed, of 4 scales; first scale 2-keeled, with the margins infolded; second scale 1-keeled; fourth scale usually 2-cleft at the apex, often almost to the base, bearing a perfect usually geniculate awn, the spiral column usually straight. Pedicellate spikelet flowerless, of 1 or 2 scales, rarely of 4 scales and bearing a staminate flower, or wanting. Stamens usually 3, very rarely 1 or 2. Styles distinct. Stigmas plumose. [Name Greek, referring to the deeply cleft flowering scale.]
About 35 species, mainly in tropical and warm temperate regions. Besides the following, others occur in the southern and southwestern parts of the United States. Type species: Andropogon brevifolius Sw.
Hairs at the apex of the rachis internodes 2"-2 l/2" long; plant glaucous, the leaf-sheaths much
Andropogon scoparium Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 1: 57.
1803. Schizachyrium scoparium Nash, in Small, Fl. SE.
U. S. 59. 1903.
Culms simple or much-branched, 1 1/2º -4 1/2º tall; sheaths smooth or scabrous, sometimes glaucous, glabrous or pubescent; blades 6'-1 1/2° long, 1"-4" wide, acuminate, glabrous or pubescent; racemes 1'- 2 1/2' long, loose, on long-exserted slender peduncles; rachis slender, flexuous, the joints and pedicels ciliate with spreading hairs; outermost scale of sessile spikelet 2 1/2"-3 1/2" long, acuminate, scabrous; awn spiral, more or less bent at point of exsertion, 4"-8" long, scabrous; pedicellate spikelet reduced to a single awn-pointed scale.
Andropogon littoralis Nash, in Britton, Man. 69.
1901. Schizachyrium littorale Bicknell, Bull. Torrey Club 35: 182. 1908.
A densely tufted perennial, the innovations with glaucous leaves with much-compressed sheaths. Culms 2 1/2°-3 1/2° tall, compressed, branched; sheaths rough, keeled; blades up to 8' long, 1 1/2"-3 1/2" wide, rough, acute, strongly keeled; racemes usually 1'-1 1/2' long, the rachis commonly straight, the internodes long-ciliate on the margins, the hairs at the apex 2"-2 1/2" long, the pedicels, which are usually recurved, long-ciliate; sessile spikelets 4"-5" long, linear-lanceolate, glabrous, the fourth scale shortly 2-toothed at the apex, ciliate, the awn 5"-7 1/2" long, the brown column tightly spiral, barely if at all exserted from the scales; pedicellate spikelet a single awned scale.
In sand along the coast, Nantucket to New York, south to Virginia. Summer and fall.