Aira elegans Willd. - Hairgrass
Family - Poaceae
Stems - To 40cm tall, erect, multiple from base, herbaceous, from fibrous roots, glabrous.
Leaves - Small, thin, to 5cm long, +/-1mm broad, scabrous. The ligule to 3mm tall, scarious, rounded at the apex. Leaf sheaths scabrous or glabrous.
Inflorescence - Fairly dense terminal panicles making up 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant height. Panicle branches ascending, glabrous. Stalks of individual spikelets to +1cm long, glabrous or scabrous.
Flowers - Spikelets to 3mm long, scabrous or glabrous. Only one lemma of the spikelet having an awn. Awns to 3mm long.
Flowering - May - June.
Habitat - Prairies, riverbanks, disturbed sites, roadsides.
Origin - Native to Eurasia and Africa.
Other info. - This little grass is fairly uncommon in Missouri, being found in only a handful of southern counties. This is an easy species to ID in the field because of its small size, open panicles, and its single-awned spikelets. The inflorescence of mature plants is open and spreading with the pedicels of the spikelets being barely visible at a distance.
Photographs taken off Lee Rd 27, Auburn, AL., 5-4-05.