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Deer-tongue Witchgrass Dichanthelium clandestinum

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Dichanthelium clandestinum
  • Panicum clandestinum
Phonetic Spelling
dy-kan-THEL-ee-um klan-des-TY-num
Description

Deer-tongue Witchgrass is a native ornamental perennial grass found in shady moist woodland areas, in moist sandy soil, in ditches, and along roadsides. The winter rosettes of this plant make a good evergreen groundcover. The culms, or stems of the grass plant, are unbranched in spring, but branch occasionally in the fall, with 10 inch long leaves along each stem. The leaf sheaths are light green or yellowish green, longitudinally veined, and either hairless or hairy; the upper sheaths are especially likely to be hairy. In spring, each stem terminates in a panicle of spikelets 2 1/2 to 6 inches long. The stem continues to grow and, by fall, has developed secondary branches that make the plant taller. The fall stems and leaves are the same as spring stems and leaves; however, the fall flowers are smaller and remain inside the leaf sheaths. After hard frost kills the fall stems and leaves, they are replaced by low winter rosettes of basal leaves. The root system is rhizomatous and can form colonies. The genus name comes from the Greek words di, meaning twice, and anth, meaning flowering, referring to plants that may have two flowering periods. The species name means hidden, referring to the tiny flowers that hide within the leaves.

Deer-tongue Witchgrass prefers partial sun, moist conditions, and sandy soil. Under ideal conditions, this grass can spread aggressively. Because the plant tolerates acid soils and thin, infertile soils, it can be used to re-vegetate reclaimed land such as mine spoils.

Diseases, Insect Pests and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pests.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#NC native#perennial grasses#native ornamental grass#larval host plant#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FAC#Coastal FACW#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#Audubon#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#NC native#perennial grasses#native ornamental grass#larval host plant#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FAC#Coastal FACW#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#Audubon#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dichanthelium
    Species:
    clandestinum
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The seeds attract many types of birds, such as turkeys. The grass is not considered good forage for livestock because it is low in nutrients
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern and Eastern Canada, central and eastern U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    Introduced into Myanmar.
    Wildlife Value:
    Seeds are an important food source for sparrows.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Caryopsis
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are available July-December (and sometimes longer). Both spring and fall flowers produce small grains that are ovoid and slightly flattened.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Blooms from May to October. In spring, each stem terminates in a pyramid-shaped panicle of spikelets about 2½-6" long; this panicle has a central axis with spreading, whorled, lateral branches. The branches terminate in solitary spikelets. All these structures are light green, slender, and slightly wiry. Individual spikelets are small, ovoid or broadly ellipsoid in shape, hairless to sparsely pubescent, and light green to greenish purple. In fall, panicles of spikelets are produced that remain inserted within their sheaths (and thus, hidden from view). These panicles are smaller and self-pollinating.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves occur along each culm, ascending to widely spreading. The leaf blades are 2 to 10 inches long and ½ to 1½ inches across; flat, and smooth along their margins, except near the stems, where the lower margins of the leaf blades are often ciliate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The culms, or stems, are light green, terete, and glabrous (or nearly so).
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Poor Soil