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Monocotyledoneae (Monocots)
Poaceae (Grass Family)
State Protection
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Global Conservation Status Rank


State Ranking Justification

There are 21 known occurrences and 17 are good to excellent. More occurrences are expected in its range since it probably occurs in many small wetlands that have not been inventoried.

Short-term Trends

Approximately 1000 plants.

Conservation and Management



In New York, Wiry Panic Grass has been found in a diversity of open, mostly calcareous habitats, both wet and dry, including fens and wet meadows, alvar and calcareous pavement barrens, and cliffs (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). Fens and other calcareous wetlands, in dry, calcareous or mafic rock barrens, and in open woodlands, especially on limestone derived soils (FNA 2007). Dry fields, moist meadows, banks, and swales (Rhoads and Block 2000). Dry to moist, chiefly calcareous ledges, sands and moors (Fernald 1970). Damp sandy or gravelly, usually calcareous, shores and marsh places (Voss 1972).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Alvar pavement grassland (guide)
  • Calcareous cliff community (guide)
  • Calcareous shoreline outcrop (guide)
  • Gravel mine
  • Marl fen (guide)
  • Mowed roadside/pathway
  • Rich graminoid fen (guide)

Associated Species

  • Abietinella abietina
  • Agalinis paupercula (small-flowered agalinis)
  • Agrostis hyemalis (southern tickle grass)
  • Allium schoenoprasum (chives)
  • Andropogon gerardii
  • anticlea elegans
  • Aquilegia canadensis (wild columbine, red columbine)
  • Argentina anserina
  • Asplenium trichomanes
  • Bromus kalmii (Kalm's brome)
  • Bryum pseudotriquetrum
  • Campanula rotundifolia (hare-bell)
  • Carex eburnea (bristle-leaved sedge)
  • Carex viridula
  • Centaurium pulchellum (branching centaury)
  • Cladonia pocillum
  • Comandra umbellata
  • Cyperus strigosus (false yellow nut sedge)
  • Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hair grass)
  • Dichanthelium acuminatum
  • Eleocharis tenuis
  • Equisetum variegatum
  • Euphrasia stricta (upright eye-bright)
  • Gentianopsis crinita (common fringed gentian)
  • Hedeoma pulegioides (American-pennyroyal)
  • Hypericum perforatum
  • Juniperus horizontalis (creeping juniper)
  • Lobelia kalmii (Kalm's lobelia)
  • Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
  • Muhlenbergia glomerata (spike muhly)
  • Oligoneuron album
  • Packera paupercula (balsam groundsel)
  • Pellaea atropurpurea (purple cliff-brake)
  • Pellaea glabella
  • Poa compressa (flat-stemmed blue grass, Canada blue grass)
  • Polygala verticillata (whorled milkwort)
  • Potentilla norvegica (ternate-leaved cinquefoil)
  • Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain-mint)
  • Saxifraga virginiensis
  • Scutellaria parvula
  • Solidago nemoralis
  • Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass)
  • Spiranthes cernua (nodding ladies'-tresses)
  • Sporobolus neglectus (small dropseed)
  • Sporobolus vaginiflorus
  • Thuja occidentalis (northern white cedar, arbor vitae)
  • Trichostema brachiatum (false pennyroyal)


New York State Distribution

Most populations of this plant are located near the St. Lawrence Seaway, the southern tip of Lake Champlain, and western New York. This grass is probably more common than its current documentation depicts. All calcareous wetlands should be thoroughly searched for this plant.

Identification Comments

Identifying Characteristics

Distinguishing characteristics: slender annual; stem erect, 20-40 (-70) cm tall, and branched from the base; winter rosettes not formed; blades of the stem and basal leaves similar, stem blades erect; sheaths papillose-hispid; panicle highly branched, 5-30 cm long, usually less than half as broad, narrowly ellipsoid with ascending branches; spikelets 3-3.5 mm long, solitary at the tips of the branchlets, mostly on long peduncles, smooth; pulvini of the lower panicle branches glabrous.

Best life stage for ID: mature plants in fruit. / Characters needed to ID: stems with leaves and fruits.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

Specimens with matue fruit are needed for identification.

Similar Species

Panicum species are often difficult for people to identify. For someone who knows Panicum species well, Panicum flexile is most closely aligned to Panicum capillare. Panicum capillare has a broadly ovoid terminal panicle as much as ½the height of the plant, stems 40-100 cm tall, and the pulvini (a swelling at the base of the petiole) of the lower panicle branches hispid.

Best Time to See

Panicum flexile is best seen when mature fruit are present, from July to November.

  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Wiry Panic Grass fruiting in New York.


Wiry Panic Grass
Panicum flexile (Gattinger) Scribn.

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Monocotyledoneae (Monocots)
        • Order Cyperales
          • Family Poaceae (Grass Family)

Additional Resources


Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2007a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 24. Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 1. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxviii + 911 pp.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: August 9, 2011

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Panicum flexile. Available from: Accessed March 19, 2019.

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