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Bearded Sprangletop (Leptochloa fascicularis) is a rather weedy-looking grass that likes to sprawl across open ground. Nonetheless, its stiff inflorescence can be more or less erect. This grass is very similar in appearance to a more western species, Malabar Sprangletop (Leptochloa fusca). The latter species has larger glumes and its foliage is even more rough-textured. Some authorities classify Bearded Sprangletop as a subspecies of the latter species, or Leptochloa fusca fascicularis. Other Leptochloa spp. (Sprangletop grasses) in Illinois are perennials; they have spikelets that lack awns and their glumes and lemmas are shorter in length. These species also occur in wetlands, primarily in southern Illinois.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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