Leersia virginica

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Common names: whitegrass [1]

Leersia virginica
File:Leersia virginica IWF.jpg
Photo by the Illinois Wildflowers Database
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Moncots
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Leersia
Species: L. virginica
Binomial name
Leersia virginica
Natural range of Leersia virginica from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Taxonomic Notes

Synonym: L. virginica var. ovata (Poiret)

Variety: Homolocenchrus virginicus (Willdenow)


L. virginica is a perennial graminoid of the Poaceae family native to North America. [1]


L. virginica is found throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States, Ontario, and Quebec. [1]



L. virginica can be found in floodplain forests, swamps, and streambanks. [2] Specimens have been collected in habitats such as shaded wet soils, drying sandy loam, shaded woods, mesic hardwood regions, floodplain bluffs, wet banks of rivers, and hammocks. [3] L. virginica is commonly found in an ideal habitat of partially shaded wet lowlands. It prefers moist soil with a high amount of organic matter that is commonly found along water bodies. It is not tolerant to droughts. [1]


Flowers typically bloom between July and October. [1]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity. [4] Seeds are typically dispersed in the summer through to the fall. [1]

Seed bank and germination

Seeds have bene classified as having medium vigor.[1]

Fire ecology

L. virginica is not fire resistant. [1]

Use by animals

L. virginica can be used by grazing and browsing animals though it is not commonly found in the pasture areas that they inhabit. The Northern Pearly Eye butterfly caterpillar will feed on the foliage of the plant.[1]

Conservation and Management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 USDA Plant Database
  2. Weakley, A. S. (2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  3. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: Loran Anderson, G. Nelson, W. Baker, R.K.Godfrey, R. Kral, Neal Morar, Lisa Keppner, Annie Schmidt, William Platt, M. Darst, H. Light, D. Johnson, L. Peed. States and counties: Florida (Wakulla, Thomas, Calhoun, Levy, Jefferson, Liberty, Clay, Franklin, Leon, Liberty, Jefferson, Escambia, Suwannee, Washington, Holmes, Dixie) Georgia (Thomas)
  4. 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.