Culms 25-70 cm. Blades 5-15 cm long, 4-7 mm wide. Panicles
8-15 cm long, 2-6 cm wide, green or purplish; branches loosely ascending.
Spikelets 5-10 mm (including the awns). Glumes 4-5 mm; lemmas
3-4 mm, conspicuously long-pilose basally, awns and teeth more or less alternating.
Caryopses about 1.5 mm, plump, elliptical; embryos about 1/2 as
long as the caryopses. 2n = 20.
Cottea pappophoroides grows on open hillsides from Arizona and Texas south
to central Mexico, and from Ecuador to Argentina.
Common Name: cotta grass Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Tufted perennial without rhizomes, stems 30-70 cm tall, ascending or erect from hard knotty bases; stems softly pilose below panicle, with bearded nodes. Vegetative: Sheaths longer than internodes, pilose, rounded on backs; blades 3-7 mm broad, flat or folded, pilose on both surfaces; ligule of hairs. Inflorescence: Narrow but open panicle with stout erect-spreading branches, 6-20 cm long, 2-6 cm wide; spikelets 7-10 mm long, with 6-10 florets, the upper florets reduced; disarticulating above glumes and between florets; self-fertilizing spikelets produced in axils of lower leaf sheaths; glumes subequal, 4-5 mm long, broadly lanceolate, with 7-13 fine but distinct nerves, the midnerve sometimes continuing as short awn; lowermost lemma as long as glumes, hairy near base, with nine to thirteen nerves; caryopsis oblong, about 1.5 mm long. Ecology: Rocky slopes, hillsides, and plains below 5,000 ft (1524 m); flowers late summer to fall. Distribution: s AZ, s NM, s TX; south through Mexico to Argentina. Notes: Cottea is a monotypic (one species in the genus) North American genus. Distinguished by being a cespitose perennial with hard, knotty bases; leaf sheaths with pilose hairs and stems with hairy nodes; panicles with hairy branches and spikelets of 6-10 florets that are conspicuously hairy, especially at the base and many awns. The many awns and hairs give the spikelets a fluffy appearance. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Cottea is named for J.G. Cotta von Cottendorf (1796-1863) a German patron of science; pappohphoroides comes from the Latin pappus, the tufts of hairs clustered around Asteraceae achenes (think of dandelion seeds), and Greek oeides, resembling or being like something. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2014, AHazelton 2015