Plants annual. Culms (30)45-80 cm, branching at the lower nodes,
often diffusely so; nodes and internodes glabrous. Leaves
cauline; sheaths shorter or slightly longer than the internodes, glabrous
or with straight hairs, sometimes pilose-floccose; collars glabrous or
pilose at the sides; ligules about 0.5 mm; blades (6)10-20 cm
long, 1-2(3) mm wide, yellow-green, turning reddish late in the season, involute
to loosely folded, abaxial surfaces smooth or scabrous near the base, sometimes
pubescent distally, adaxial surfaces usually glabrous, sometimes scabrous or
pubescent, lateral veins about twice as thick as the inner veins. Inflorescences
paniculate, 10-20 cm long, 2-7 cm wide; rachis nodes glabrous; primary
branches stiffly ascending, with axillary pulvini, with 3-9 spikelets. Spikelets
in fan-shaped clusters, pedicels with axillary pulvini. Glumes about
equal, 10-17 mm, light to dark brown, glabrous or rarely sparsely pilose, 1-veined,
apices cleft and awned, awns 2-5 mm; calluses 1-2.5 mm; lemmas
7-10 mm, gray to light brown, narrowing to a 2-5(7) mm beak, junction of the
lemma and awns evident; awns 20-28 mm, similar in length, curved to strongly
arcuate near the base, not forming a column, straight and divergent distally,
disarticulating at maturity; anthers 3, 1-2 mm, dark purple. Caryopses
7-8 mm, smooth, chestnut brown. 2n = unknown.
Aristida desmantha grows in sandy fields, dry pine woods, and waste places
in the United States. It is generally similar to A.
tuberculosa, but has shorter glumes, calluses, and awns.
Annual 3-8 dm, the culms erect, branched from the base and to some extent from the lower nodes; lvs 1-4 mm wide toward the base, tapering to a fine point, folded or involute, the sheaths often villous-margined; panicle loosely branched, 1-2 dm, with ascending branches; glumes subequal, 13-20 mm, including the short awn, the first one scabrous on the keel; lemma 9-12 mm; awns articulate with the lemma, scarcely united at base, loosely coiled and widely divergent when dry, subequal, 2.4-3.3 cm. Dry sand; Ill. to Nebr. and Tex.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.