Aristida dichotoma
Three-awned grass
Image of Aristida dichotoma

Photo by Emmet J. Judziewicz 

Key Characteristics

Small tufted annual grass (20-40 cm) of dry sandy soil; spikelets with three awns, the middle awn loosely spiraled at base, 4-8 mm; lemma 5-7 mm.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: X
  • State Rank: SX
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Aristida dichotoma

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Known from a single collection in Kalamazoo County, where it was collected in 1935 from "sterile sandy soil". Elsewhere within its broad U.S. range, it occurs in dry, sandy soil.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

No collection data are available from the Michigan collection; though this rare grass may have occurred with such dry-site species as poverty grass, little bluestem, old-field goldenrod, Pennsylvania sedge, ground juniper, shining sumac, wild plum, and New Jersey tea.


Requires early successional habitat and local disturbance. Fire may also be important in maintaining habitat.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 18, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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