Heteropogon melanocarpus

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Heteropogon melanocarpus
Hete mela.jpg
Photo by Guy Anglin, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae ⁄ Gramineae
Genus: Heteropogon
Species: H. melanocarpus
Binomial name
Heteropogon melanocarpus
(Elliott) Elliott ex Benth.
HETE MELA dist.jpg
Natural range of Heteropogon melanocarpus from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Sweet tanglehead

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Andropogon melanocarpus Elliott USDA NRCS Plants Database.


Heteropogon melanocarpus is an annual graminoid.

"Coarse annual; culms 0.8-2 m tall, nodes and internodes glabrous. Leaves primarily cauline; blades to 4 dm long and 1 cm wide, long pilose above in the collar region, margins scaberulous; sheaths glabrous, occasionally glandular, upper inflated, margins usually scarious; ligules membranous, lacerate, 2-4 mm long. Inflorescence glomerate, pedunculate racemes exserted from inflated sheaths. Racemes (excluding awns) 2-4 cm long, sessile spikelet fertile and staminate, pedicellate spikelets staminate. First glume of staminate, pedicellate spikelet asymmetric, one margins winded, glandular punctate, distinctly nerved, acuminate, 12-17 mm long, 2nd glume membarceous,, enclosed by and similar to 1st; fertile and sterile lemmas hyaline, reduced, awn of fertile lemma brown hirsute, twisted, geniculate, to 10 cm long; palea absent; callus appressed brown hirsute, 2-3 mm long. Grain yellowish, linear, terete, 4 mm long." [1]




The soils where H. melanocarpus was encountered during the study are fine sandy loams that are poorly drained with slow surface runoff and medium to very slow permeability.[2] It has also been found in wet to dry loamy sand, and seems to prefer semi-shaded to open light conditions.[3] H. melanocarpus can be found in annually burned savannas, as well as in disturbed habitat such as beside trails, roadsides, railroad beds, old fields, and firebreaks. Associated species include Senna obtusifolia, Conzya pusilla, Strophostyle helvola, Bidens alba, and Andropogon glomeratus.[3]


Flowering and fruiting has been observed in July through November.[3]

Fire ecology

This species has been found in annually burned savanna.[3]

It was found only in plots receiving periodic winter burning in Lewis and Harshbarger's experiment.[2]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  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. 166. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lewis, C. E. and T. J. Harshbarger (1976). "Shrub and herbaceous vegetation after 20 years of prescribed burning in the South Carolina coastal plain." Journal of Range Management 29: 13-18.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, R. Komarek, James R. Burkhalter, R. K. Godfrey, James D. Ray Jr., A. H. Curtiss, Robert L. Lazor, Norlan C. Henderson, A. F. Clewell, R. A. Norris, R. F. Doren, Angela M. Reid, and K. M. Robertson. States and Counties: Florida: Bay, Columbia, Duval, Escambia, Hernando, Jefferson, Leon, Santa Rosa, Taylor, and Wakulla. Georgia: Grady.