PORCUPINEGRASS
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Hesperostipa spartea   (Trin. ) Barkworth
[=Stipa spartea Trin.]
Russell County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 18-55 inches
Family: Poaceae - Grass Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July
Culms: Erect to ascending, simple, nearly glabrous.
Blades: Basal and cauline; blades 6 to 20 (34) inches long, .12 to .2 inch wide, involute at maturity, upper surface ridged and usually pubescent, lower surface not conspicuously ridged, glabrous to minutely pubescent.
Sheaths: Mostly overlapping, terete, usually glabrous, margins ciliate.
Ligules: Membranous, firm, .14 to .28 inch, acute or truncate or rounded, usually entire.
Inflorescences: Panicle, not enclosed in sheath, narrow, nodding, mostly 4 to 12 inches long; branches few, slender, erect, bearing 1 or 2 spikelets near tip.
Spikelets: Narrow, 1-flowered, 1.2 to 1.8 inches long; glumes narrow, nearly equal, 1 to 1.8 inch long, keeled, 7-9-veined, attenuate to aristate; lemmas brown, narrow, rigid, nearly cylindric, .7 to 1 inch long excluding awn, unevenly pubescent; callus attached to base of floret, hard, .12 to .24 inch, sharp-pointed, densely pubescent, terminating in awn 4 to 8 inches long; awn spirally twisted, twice bent; palea enclosed by lemmas, prominent.
Habitat: Prairies, open rocky hillsides
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Forage Value: Porcupinegrass is a good early season forage grass for cattle and horses, but the mature awns and sharp-pointed calluses can cause mouth, eye, and ear injuries.
Comments: The awns twist in dry weather and untwist in damp conditions.

Porcupine grass habit
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Russell County, Kansas
Porcupinegrass anthers
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Russell County, Kansas
Porcupinegrass awns
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Russell County, Kansas
Porcupinegrass ligule
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Russell County, Kansas