Aristida divaricata

Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.
Common names: Poverty grass
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 25. Treatment on page 323.
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Plants perennial; cespitose. Culms 25-70 cm, erect or prostrate, unbranched or sparingly branched. Leaves tending to be basal; sheaths longer than the internodes, glabrous except at the summit; collars densely pilose; ligules 0.5-1 mm; blades 5-20 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, flat to loosely involute, glabrous. Inflorescences paniculate, 10-30 cm long, 6-25 cm wide, peduncles flattened and easily broken; rachis nodes glabrous or with hairs, hairs to 0.5 mm; primary branches 5-13 cm, stiffly divaricate to reflexed, with axillary pulvini, usually naked on the basal 1/2; secondary branches usually well-developed. Spikelets overlapping, usually appressed, sometimes divergent and the pedicels with axillary pulvini. Glumes 8-12 mm, 1-veined, acuminate or shortly awned, awns to 4 mm; calluses about 0.5 mm; lemmas 8-13 mm long, the terminal 2-3 mm with 4 or more twists when mature, narrowing to 0.1-0.2 mm wide just below the awns, junction with the awns not evident; awns (7)10-20 mm, not disarticulating at maturity; central awns almost straight to curved at the base, ascending to somewhat divergent distally; lateral awns slightly thinner and from much to slightly shorter than the central awns, ascending to divergent; anthers 3, 0.8-1 mm. Caryopses 8-10 mm, light brown. 2n = 22.


Kans., Okla., Colo., Calif., N.Mex., Tex., Ariz.


Aristida divaricata grows on dry hills and plains, especially in pinyon-juniper-grassland zones, from the southwestern United States through Mexico to Guatemala. It occasionally intergrades with A. havardii, but that species has lemma beaks that are straight or have only 1-2 twists, shorter primary branches, usually no secondary branches, and pedicels that more frequently have axillary pulvini so the spikelets are more frequently divergent than in A. divaricata.



Lower Taxa

No lower taxa listed.