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..
Perennial grasses with short flat leaf-blades and spicate inflorescence, the spikes digitate.
Spikelets 1-flowered, secund. Scales 3; the 2 lower empty, keeled; flowering scale broader, membranous, compressed; palet a little shorter than the scale, hyaline, 2-keeled. Stamens 3.
Styles distinct. Stigmas short, plumose. Grain free. [Name mediaeval Latin for the wild goat that feeds on this grass in waste rocky places.]
Four known species, of which three are Australian, the following widely distributed. Type species: Panicum Dactylon L.
Panicum Dactylon L. Sp. PI. 58. 1753. Cynodon Dactylon Pers. Syn. 1: 85. 1805. Capriola Dactylon Kuntze, Rev. Gen. PI. 764. 1891.
Culms 4'-12 tall, erect, from long creeping and branching stolons, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths glabrous or somewhat hairy, crowded at the bases of the culms and along the stolons; ligule pilose; blades 1'-2' long, 1"-2" wide, flat, rigid, smooth beneath, scabrous above; spikes 4-5, 1/2'-2' in length, digitate; rachis flat; spikelets 1" long; outer scales hispid on the keel, narrow, the first shorter than the second, about two-thirds as long as the broad and strongly compressed third one.
In fields and waste places, Massachusetts and southern New York to Missouri, Florida and Mexico. West Indies and South America. Cultivated for pasture. Naturalized from Europe. Wire-grass, Cane-grass, Bahama-grass, Indian Doob. July-Sept.