Triplasis purpurea
Sand grass
Image of Triplasis purpurea

Photo by Emmet J. Judziewicz 

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Key Characteristics

Slender, tufted, annual grass of sandy ground; leafy stems terminate in a loose, open, purplish flowering panicle, the glumes narrowly lanceolate and the 2-lobed, awned lemmas oblong, rounded on the back, and hairy along the 3 parallel veins.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G4G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Clair11954
Van Buren21983
Distribution map for Triplasis purpurea

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.


Sand grass is found in sandy, open ground where there is little competition, usually within oak savanna and prairie complexes. It is also occurs along dunes on the Great Lakes shoreline.

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

Black oak, white oak, big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass, lupine, jointweed, sheathed rush grass (dropseed), winged pigweed, bugseed, sedge (Carex muhlenbergii), and fall witch grass.


Little is known about this somewhat obscure grass, which would likely benefit from management techniques that maintain prairies. It is likely susceptible to ORV traffic and excessive recreational 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 Jul 20, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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