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.
Approximately 1000 plants.
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).
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.
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.
Specimens with matue fruit are needed for identification.
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.
Panicum flexile is best seen when mature fruit are present, from July to November.
The time of year you would expect to find Wiry Panic Grass fruiting in New York.
Wiry Panic Grass
Panicum flexile (Gattinger) Scribn.
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.
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: https://guides.nynhp.org/wiry-panic-grass/. Accessed March 19, 2019.