Paspalum praecox

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Paspalum praecox
Pasp prae.jpg
Photo by Guy Anglin, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae ⁄ Gramineae
Genus: Paspalum
Species: P. praecox
Binomial name
Paspalum praecox
PASP PRAE dist.jpg
Natural range of Paspalum praecox from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: early paspalum; early crown grass, Curtis's crown grass[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Paspalum lentiferum Lamarck; P. praecox var. curtissianum, orthographic error[1]

Varieties: P. praecox Walter var. curtisianum (Steudel) Vasey; Paspalum praecox Walter var. praecox[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]

"Erect perennial from short rhizomes; culms 6-9 dm tall, nodes and internodes glabrous. Blades to 20 cm long, 1.5-4 mm wide, glabrous or villous on both surfaces, occasionally pilose basally above; sheaths glabrous, villous or sparsely papillose above, margins smooth; ligules 2-2.5 mm long. Racemes 3-5, racemose, ascending, 2-6 cm long; rachis wing scaberulous, 1-1.2 mm wide. Spikelets broadly obovoid to suborbicular, flattish, 2.2-3.2 mm long, in 4 rows, 2 rows rudimentary; pedicels scaberulous angled, 0.1-1 mm long. Second glume and sterile lemmas 3-nerved, yellowish green , margins scarious, obtuse 2.2-3.2 mm long; fertile lemma and palea nerveless, papillose, obtuse, 2.2-3.2 mm long. Grain brownish, broadly ellipsoid, flat, 2 mm long."[2]

The two variations are distinguishable by their lower sheaths - var. curtisianum has a villous or hirsute texture, while var. praecox has glabrous or sparsely papillose-pubescent.[1]


This species ranges from Pennsylvania to Kansas and Colorado, south to Florida, southern Texas, and Mexico. It also grows in Cuba.[1]



This species has been found growing in open areas of longleaf and slash pine in wet, sandy, and peaty soils.[3] It has also been found in moist, loose, and loamy sands of ditches along trails within pine plantations.[3] Associated species include Andropogon, Sorghastrum, and Pinus palustris.[3]


P. praecox flowers from June through October.[1]

Fire ecology

This species can be found in burned, open longleaf pine areas.[3] Populations of Paspalum praecox have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[4]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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. 136. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Wilson Baker, Ann F. Johnson, Robert K. Godfrey, R. Komarek, Travis MacClendon, and Karen MacClendon. States and Counties: Florida: Calhoun, Dixie, Liberty, and Wakulla. Georgia: Thomas.
  4. 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.