Plants and Animals

Trisetum spicatum Downy oat-grass

species photo
Susan R. Crispin
species photo
Emmet J. Judziewicz
species photo
Emmet J. Judziewicz
species photo
Emmet J. Judziewicz

Key Characteristics

Small tufted grass (50 cm) of bedrock habitats, with hairy upper leaf surfaces and sheaths; flowering panicle 3-10 cm long and dense, the spikelets mostly 2-flowered, the lemmas 2-toothed and at least the upper one awned.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S2S3 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from imperiled to vulnerable

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger11973
Chippewa11985
Keweenaw272014
Marquette31996
Ontonagon11982

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

Downy oat-grass occurs in rock crevices and on shores where it is found along the immediate shore, where it establishes in crevices, often well within the wave-splash zone. It occurs principally in association with calcareous substrates, but occasionally can be found on acid substrates of various igneous and metamorphic bedrocks.

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

Northern white cedar, balsam fir, sand cherry, ground juniper, buffaloberry, Alpine bluegrass, bulrush sedge, Hill's thistle, and flattened spike-rush, little bluestem, prairie dropseed, cat's foot, Canadian milk vetch, harebell, sedges, Indian paintbrush, field chickweed, bastard toad flax, grass, hair grass, prairie smoke, bee-balm, shrubby cinquefoil, old field goldenrod.

Management Recommendations

Primarily requires protection of the shoreline habitat and perpetuation of natural disturbance (winter ice, storms, wind) and hydrological regimes. This community occupies a stressed, potentially unstable environment; many of the species found in this community do not tolerate later stages of succession and require management that prevents woody plant encroachment. Protect from development and trampling from recreational activities.

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 June to fourth week of July

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

  • 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, C. L. and A. Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest, an Illustrated Manual. University of Washington Press, Seattle. 730pp.
  • 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.
  • Scoggan, H.J. 1978. The Flora of Canada. National Museum of Natural Science Publications Botany 4: 1711pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1972. Michigan Flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 488pp.