Tridens carolinianus

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Tridens carolinianus
Trid caro.jpg
Photo by Steve Dickman, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae ⁄ Gramineae
Genus: Tridens
Species: T. carolinianus
Binomial name
Tridens carolinianus
(Steud.) Henr.
TRID CARO dist.jpg
Natural range of Tridens carolinianus from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Carolina fluffgrass, Carolina triodia

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Triodia drummondii Scribner & Kearney.[1]


"Erect rhizomatous perennials. Spikelets compressed, glumes similar, shorter than lowest lemma. Lemmas 3-nerved, nerves ciliate, reduced upward, chartaceous; paleas equaling lemmas. Articulation below florets."[2]

"Perennial from elongate, scaly rhizomes, 2.5-5 mm thick; culms 8-12 dm tall, nodes and internodes glabrous. Leaves cauline, to 3.5 dm log, 2-7 mm wide; upper blades glabrous on both surfaces, lower blades sparsely pilose on both surfaces basally, margins smooth scaberulous; upper sheaths glabrous, lower, pilose; ligules ciliolate, 0.5 mm long. Panicle 9-15 cm long, 1-4 cm broad; branches ascending, glabrous. Spikelets 4-5 flowered, 7-9 mm long, 2-3 mm broad. Glumes 1-nerved, chartaceous, glabrous, retuse, cuspidate; 1st glume 3.5-4.5 mm long, 2nd glume 4-5 mm long; lemmas retuse, cuspidate, longest 4-5 mm long. Grain yellowish, ellipsoid, 2-2.5 mm long."[2]


Tridens carolinianus is endemic to the east Gulf Coastal Plain, disjunct to North and South Carolina.[3]



In the Coastal Plain in Florida and Georgia, T. carolinianus has been found in open longleaf pine forests; loamy sand of open pinewoods sandhill; annually burned pinelands; longleaf pine-live oak forests; sandy loam of longleaf pine-deciduous scrub oak forests; mesic longleaf pine-oak-persimmon community; and open, mesic pine flatwoods.[4] It has also been found in disturbed habitats such as pastures and old fields. Associated species include Quercus margarettae, Quercus incana, Quercus falcata, Liatris gracilis, Liatris tenuifolius, Ceanothus americanus, Aristida beyrichiana, Pityopsis graminifolia var. tenuifolia, Schizachyrium tenerum, Eriogonum tomentosum, Licania michauxii, and Ctenium.[4]


This species has been observed to flower and fruit August through November.[4][5]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity.[6]

Fire ecology

Populations of Tridens carolinianus have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[7]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draf of 21 May 2015. 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. 63. Print.
  3. Sorrie, B. A. and A. S. Weakley 2001. Coastal Plain valcular plant endemics: Phytogeographic patterns. Castanea 66: 50-82.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: July 2015. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Wilson Baker, Robert K. Godfrey, Roy Komarek, Angus Gholson, J. M. Kane, R. Kral, John B. Nelson, B. A. Sorrie. States and Counties: Florida: Gulf, Jackson, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, Washington. Georgia: Baker, Grady, Thomas. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  5. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 19 MAY 2021
  6. 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.
  7. 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.