Paspalum bifidum

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Paspalum bifidum
Paspalum bifidum 1.jpg
Photo taken by Kevin Robertson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae ⁄ Gramineae
Genus: Paspalum
Species: P. bifidum
Binomial name
Paspalum bifidum
(Bertol.) Nash
PASP BIFI dist.jpg
Natural range of Paspalum bifidum from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: pitchfork paspalum, pitchfork crown grass[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: none[1]

Varieties: Paspalum bifidum var. bifidum; P. bifidum var. projectum Fernald[1]


"Annuals or perennials. Leaves primarily basal and low cauline; blade margins usually scaberulous; ligules membranous. Spikelets plano-convex, terminal floret fertile, basal floret sterile. Frist glume usually absent, sterile lemma resembles 2nd glume; fertile lemma and paleas indurate, lustrous, yellowish or brownish. These plants are all important forage grasses."[2]

"Perennial form thick rhizome; culms 6-9 dm tall, nodes glabrous or appressed pubescent, internodes glabrous. Blades to 20 cm long, 3-15 mm wide, papillose-pilose to almost glabrous, margins usually ciliate; ligules 2-2.5 mm long. Racemes usually 3, racemose, ascending, 4-9 cm long; rachis triangular, wingless, scaberulous. Spikelets broadly ellipsoid, 3.5-3.8 mm long, basically in 4 rows but by abortion in 2 or 1; pedicels scaberulous angled, 1-3 mm long. Frist legume reduced, rounded, 0.25-0.5 mm long, 2nd glume 7-9 nerved, yellowish brown, glabrous, obtuse, 2.5-3.5 mm long, sterile lemma 5-nerved, yellowish brown, glabrous, obtuse, 3.5-3.8 mm long; fertile lemma and palea lemma nerveless, obtuse, 3.5-3.8 mm long. Grain purplish, broadly ellipsoid, 3 mm long."[2]


This plant ranges from southeast Virginia to southern Florida, then west to southeast Missouri, southeast Oklahoma, and eastern Texas.[1]



This species can be found growing in longleaf pine-scrub oak sand ridges, sandhills, mixed woodlands, and open longleaf pine forests on rolling terrain.[3] It has been observed in dry loamy sands and moist hummus-rich soils in open areas.[3] P. bifidum can also grow in disturbed areas such as along dirt roads and bottomland clearings along rivers.[3] Associated species include longleaf pine, palmetto, wiregrass, Liatris elegans, Quercus laevis, Hypericum gentianoides, Trichostema setacea, Cassia fascicularis, Eupatorium hyssopifolium, Liatris graminifolia, Elephantopus elatus, Agaratina aromatica, and Helianthus angustifolius.[3]


This species flowers from August to October.[3]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity.[4]

Fire ecology

Populations of Paspalum bifidum have been known to persist through repeated annual burns.[5][6]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 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. 132-5. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Robert K. Godfrey, James R. Burkhalter, Bob Lazor,G. Knight, M. Davis, and Robert L. Lazor. States and Counties: Florida: Bay, Escambia, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington. Georgia: Baker and 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.
  5. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  6. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.