Aristida longespica
Three-awned grass
Image of Aristida longespica

Photo by Emmet J. Judziewicz 

Key Characteristics

Small tufted annual grass (20-50 cm) of moist sandy prairies; spikelets with three awns, the middle awn straight (without spirals at its base), 7-12 mm; lateral awns 1-4 mm, not spreading; lemma 3-5 mm.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Clair32002
Distribution map for Aristida longespica

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.


This species occurs in moist fields and remnant sandy prairies, and occasionally in weedy successional openings.

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

Little bluestem, big bluestem, Indian grass, bog clubmoss, wild indigo, seedbox, dwarf bulrush, autumn sedge, tooth-cup, orange-grass, tall nut-rush, short-fruited rush, colic root, purple gerardia, pinweed, ladies' tresses, and northern appressed clubmoss.


This species requires conservation of habitat and protection of the hydrology, including maintenance of cyclical drawdown regime and water table. Maintain moist, open habitat. It is also vulnerable to ORV impacts and dredging and filling activities.

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 Sep 25, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

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