Coleataenia anceps

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Common Names: Beaked Panicgrass [1]

Coleataenia anceps
Coleataenia anceps AFP.jpg
Photo by the Atlas of Florida Plants Database
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Moncots
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Coleataenia
Species: C. anceps
Binomial name
Coleataenia anceps
Natural range of Coleataenia anceps from Weakley [2]

Taxonomic Notes

Synonyms: Panicum anceps Michaux; Sorengia anceps (Michaux) Zuloaga & Morrone ssp. anceps; Panicum anceps Michaux var. anceps; Panicum anceps Michaux ssp. anceps; Sorengia anceps (Michaux) Zuloaga & Morrone ssp. rhizomata (A.S. Hitchcock & Chase) Zuloaga & Morrone; Panicum anceps Michaux var. rhizomatum (A.S. Hitchcock & Chase) Fernald; Panicum anceps Michaux ssp. rhizomatum (A.S. Hitchcock & Chase) Freckmann & Lelong; Panicum rhizomatum A.S. Hitchcock & Chase

Varieties: none

Subspecies: Coleataenia anceps (Michaux) Soreng ssp. anceps; Coleataenia anceps (Michaux) Soreng ssp. rhizomata (A.S. Hitchcock & Chase) Soreng


C. anceps is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family native to North America[1] with flat, elongated leaf blades that are smooth or pubescent. The stems are smooth and erect with membranous and irregularly shaped ligules. Inflorescences are loose, open, clusters which are ascending and containing appressed and short branchlets. Spikelets are unevenly positioned on the inflorescence stems. The first glume is angled sharply and comprises almost all of the base of the spikelet, and the second glume is the length of the spikelet and curved like a bird's beak. The palea and lemma that are fertile are angled, the color of straw, and comprising of stiff hairs to make it slightly pubescent. The dry, one-seeded fruit is purple and oval-shaped.[3]

Differentiating between the subspecies, Coleataenia anceps ssp. rhizomata tends to have hairier leaves than C. anceps ssp. anceps. As well, to differentiate between C. anceps ssp. rhizomata and C. rigidula ssp. condensa, the sheaths of ssp. rhizomata vary from sparsely to densely villous, principally near the margin, while ssp. condensa are either completely glabrous or appressed pubescent distally.[2]


This weedy graminoid can be found in the United States, from the east coast west to Illinois and Texas. [2]



C. anceps is tolerant of a variety of habitats such as dry sandy soil and standing water regions; however, it is listed as a facultative wetland species, so swamp regions are its ideal habitat, with partial (30 - 35%[3]) shade.[1] C. anceps is found along the margins of marshes, bottomlands, and swamps with soils ranging moist to wet,[3] and is frequent species in prairie hammocks.[4] Specimens of C. anceps have been collected from habitats including upper tidal swamps, edge of rivers, in dune swale, sandy loam of open flatwoods, burned over cypress swamp, pine flatwoods, moist sands of roadsides, moist sands in hammock clearing, and longleaf pine flatwoods.[5] Thinning of overstory canopy tree species increases the abundance of C. anceps.[6]

Associated species include Rhynchospora divergens, Scleria verticillatata, Juniperus sp., Eustachys sp., and Paspalum rigidulum.[5]


Once a year the C. anceps flowers, in the fall, and produces its seeds that are germinated in the fall and early winter. [1] It has been observed to flower from June to August with peak inflorescence in August.[7]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity.[8][9]

Seed bank and germination

One study found seeds of C. anceps to be located at 1 m above the waterline, at the waterline, and 66 cm and 1 m below the waterline in the seed bank.[10]

Fire ecology

This species can be found in fire-maintained ecosystems[8]; however, it has less association with fire than other associated plant species of fire disturbance.[11] A study by Kush found that C. anceps has the greatest occurrence in response to winter burns, and the greatest amount of biomass in response to spring burns.[12] Populations of Coleataenia anceps have been known to persist through repeated annual burns.[13][14]

Herbivory and toxicology

C. anceps consists of approximately 10-25% of the diet for water birds and terrestrial birds.[15] This species is grazed by cattle and deer, and birds as well as waterfowl eat the seeds.[16] Particularly, seeds of C. anceps are utilized by Henslow's sparrows (Ammodramus henslowii) during the wintertime, but are preferred secondarily to other food items available.[11] As cattle forage, C. anceps has a high palatability and recovers from grazing quickly in the early spring.[17]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

For management, it should be noted that close grazing of this species causes the basal tufts to widely spread as well as the leaves to form a dense cover over the small areas it is found.[16] Grazing through the summer improves the plant's vigor and density, but overgrazing can allow other plants of lesser value to colonize.[3] This grassy weed can be used for restoring regions used for mining, logging, timber roads, and other eroded sites by reintroducing this vegetation.[3]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 USDA Plant Database
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Weakley, Alan S. 2015. Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States: Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 1320 pp.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Newman, S. D. and M. Gates. (2006). Plant Guide: Beaked Panicgrass Panicum anceps. N.R.C.S. United States Department of Agriculture. Baton Rouge, LA.
  4. Orzell, S. L. and E. L. Bridges (2006). "Floristic composition of the south-central Florida dry prairie landscape." Florida Ecosystem 1(3): 123-133.
  5. 5.0 5.1 URL: Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: M. Darst, R. Mattson, G. Mahon, J. Good, Loran Anderson, Ann F. Johnson, R.K. Godfrey, R. Fral, J.P. Gillespie, Richard S. Mitchell, William Reese, Paul Redfearn, R.E. Perdue. States and counties: Florida (Dixie, Wakulla, Bay, Leon, Franklin, Nassau, Madison, Taylor, Jackson, Jefferson, Clay, Levy, Baker) Georgia (Grady)
  6. Brockway, D. G. and C. E. Lewis (2003). "Influence of deer, cattle grazing and timber harvest on plant species diversity in a longleaf pine bluestem ecosystem." Forest Ecology and Management 175: 49-69.
  7. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 8 APR 2019
  8. 8.0 8.1 Creech, M. N., et al. (2012). "Alteration and Recovery of Slash Pile Burn Sites in the Restoration of a Fire-Maintained Ecosystem." Restoration Ecology 20(4): 505-516.
  9. Kirkman, L. K., et al. (2004). "Ground Cover Recovery Patterns and Life-History Traits: Implications for Restoration Obstacles and Opportunities in a Species-Rich Savanna." Journal of Ecology 92(3): 409-421.
  10. Collins, B. and G. Wein (1995). "Seed bank and vegetation of a constructed reservoir." Wetlands 15(4): 374-385.
  11. 11.0 11.1 DiMiceli, J. K., et al. (2007). "Seed preferences of wintering Henslow's sparrows." Condor 109: 595-604.
  12. Kush, J. S., et al. (2000). Understory plant community response to season of burn in natural longleaf pine forests. Proceedings 21st Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference. Fire and forest ecology: innovative silviculture & vegetation management, Tallahassee, FL, Tall Timbers Research, Inc.
  13. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  14. Glitzenstein, J. S., D. R. Streng, R. E. Masters, K. M. Robertson and S. M. Hermann 2012. Fire-frequency effects on vegetation in north Florida pinelands: Another look at the long-term Stoddard Fire Research Plots at Tall Timbers Research Station. Forest Ecology and Management 264: 197-209.
  15. Miller, J.H., and K.V. Miller. 1999. Forest plants of the southeast and their wildlife uses. Southern Weed Science Society.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Brakie, M. (2007). Plant Fact Sheet: Beaked Panicgrass Panicum anceps. N.R.C.S. United States Department of Agriculture. Nacogdoches, TX.
  17. Byrd, Nathan A. (1980). "Forestland Grazing: A Guide For Service Foresters In The South." U.S. Department of Agriculture.