Plants and Animals

Bouteloua curtipendula Side-oats grama grass

species photo
Susan R. Crispin
species photo
Susan R. Crispin
species photo
Ryan P. O'Connor
species photo
Ryan P. O'Connor

Key Characteristics

Medium-sized grass of dry prairies, savannas, and hillsides; leaf blade 2-7 mm wide with a ligule of short hairs; spikelets short, numerous, appearing attached primarily to one side of the narrow rachis.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Barry21980
Jackson12008
Kalamazoo12005
Kent21986
Livingston11947
Newaygo12004
Oakland11848
St. Joseph21961
Washtenaw42012

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.

Habitat

Though a common plant of dry prairies further west, it was never common in Michigan and its native habitat in the state was mainly limited to oak barrens and hillside prairies. Elsewhere in range it is also known to be associated with alvar.

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

White oak, black oak, lupine, little bluestem, needle grass, kitten-tails, sassafras, service berry, New Jersey tea, sweetfern, beaked hazelnut, wintergreen, huckleberry, sand cherry, dwarf chinquapin oak, low sweet blueberry, big bluestem, hair grass, Pennsylvania sedge, slender sand sedge, sky-blue aster, false foxglove, flowering spurge, dwarf dandelion, blazing star, wild bergamot, goat's-rue, birdfoot violet.

Management Recommendations

The species requires the maintenance of the savanna community. Brush removal and prescribed burns are recommended, since sites tend to heavily brush in without natural disturbance regime. Most examples of these sites are small and becoming degraded through further landscape fragmentation and lack of management.

Survey Methods

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

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of August to fourth week of October

References

Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Braun, E. L. 1967. The Monocotyledoneae of Ohio. Cat-tails to Orchids. Ohio State University Press, Columbus. 464pp.
  • Dore, W.G. and J. McNeill. 1980. Grasses of Ontario. Agriculture Canada Research Monographs 26: 566pp.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2003. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 25: Magnoliaphyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 2. Oxford University Press, New York. 783pp.
  • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
  • Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
  • Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the Grasses of the United States. Second ed. Revised by A. Chase. U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publications 200. 1051pp.
  • Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
  • Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1972. Michigan Flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 488pp.