Gymnopogon ambiguus

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Gymnopohon ambiguus
Gymnopogon ambigua 1.jpg
Photo taken by Kevin Robertson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae ⁄ Gramineae
Genus: Gymnopogon
Species: G. ambiguus
Binomial name
Gymnopogon ambiguus
(Michx.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.
GYMN AMBI dist.jpg
Natural range of Gymnopogon ambiguus from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Bearded skeletongrass

Taxonomic notes


"Tufted, rhizomatous, perennial; culms branching, nodes and internodes glabrous. Leaves cauline; blades glabrous on both surfaces, margins scaberulous, bases cordate; sheaths conspicuously overlapping, glabrous, usually pilose apically; ligules membranous, ciliolate, less than 0.4 mm long; collars usually pilose. Spikes racemose; branches spreading, flexuous, angled, scaberulous. Spikelets in two rows on one side of rachis, 1-flowered, occasionally a rudiment present in G. amibguus, appressed; pedicels angled, scaberulous, absent or to 1.5 mm long. Glumes 1-nerved, margins usually scarious; paleas 2-nerved, margins usually scarious, acute; callus usually bearded; rachilla prolonged or capped by sterile floret. Grain reddish, linear-ellipsoid." [1]

"Culms 3-7 dm tall. Blades to 6 cm long, 2-8 mm wide; ligules occasionally ciliate, 2.5 mm long. Spikelets beyond middle of spike only, 2.5-4.5 mm long. Glumes 2.5-4.5 mm long; lemmas pubescent apically, body 2-2.3 mm long, dorsal awns 1-3.5 mm long; paleas 2.2-3 mm long. Grain 1.8-2 mm long."[1]




This species has been observed to grow in open pine woods along the edges of depression ponds, longleaf pine-oak-wiregrass sandhill communities, sparsely wooded ecotone borders of limestone glades, longleaf pine-turkey oak flats and sand ridges, xeric sand pine scrub, upland pine oak woodlands, and clearings within mixed woodland forests. This plant has been seen growing in open and partial shaded environments in dry, loamy, and loose sands and well as moist sandy clay loam. Also growing in disturbed areas, G. ambiguus has been observed in powerline corridors, along trails, on pine plantations, and on open fields. [2] Associated species includes Pinus palustris, Quercus falcata, Baptista hirsuta, Quercus nigra, Pterocaulon, stillingia, Heterotheca, Liquidambar styraciflua, Aristida stricta,Solidago, Andropogon, Sorghastrum, Pinus taeda, and Bluestem.[2]


Flowers and fruits have been observed on this species from September to November.[2]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity. [3]

Fire ecology

It occurs on annually burned pine plantations.[2]

Use by animals

Comprised deer diets more in the summer than in the winter.[4]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 118. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 .Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Wilson Baker, Robert K. Godfrey, James R. Burkhalter, Angus Gholson, Richard D. Houk, Robert Kral, Andre F. Clewell, D. L. Martin, S. T. Cooper, Sidney McDaniel, R.A. Norris, D. C. Hunt, R. Komarek, and J.M. Kane. States and Counties: Florida: Gadsden, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Santa Rosa, and Wakulla. Georgia: Grady and Thomas.
  3. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  4. Thill, R. E. (1983). Deer and cattle forage selection on Louisiana pine-hardwood sites. New Orleans, LA, USDA Forest Service.