Glyceria striata (Fowl Manna Grass)

Plant Info
Also known as: Pale Manna Grass
Genus:Glyceria
Family:Poaceae (Grass)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, sun; wet; shallow water, swamps, marshes, streams, ponds, lakeshores, wet ditches, open woods
Fruiting season:July - September
Plant height:1 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: panicle

[photo of panicle] Flowering head is an open panicle 4 to 8 inches long, very lax, typically nodding to one side, the branches ascending but drooping at the tips with 15 to 50 spikelets (flower clusters). Spikelets are stalked, lance-oval in outline, slightly flattened, 2.5 to 4 mm long, with 3 to 6 fertile florets. 1 or more sterile florets may be at the tip.

[photo of spikelets] At the base of a spikelet is a pair of bracts (glumes), both egg-shaped with blunt tips, papery thin, whitish to purple, obscurely 1-nerved, the lower glume .4 to .9 mm long, the upper glume .5 to 1.3 mm long. Surrounding a floret is a pair of bracts (lemma and palea). Lemmas are green to dark purplish, elliptic to broadly oval-lance shaped, pointed or jagged at the tip, awnless, hairless but rough textured, 1.5 to 2 mm long, prominently 7-nerved, with a papery white edging. The palea is as long as the lemma or nearly so, 2-nerved and minutely notched at the tip with the tips pointing inward.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of overlapping sheaths] Leaf blades are spreading to ascending, flat or folded, 4 to 12 inches long, ¼ inch wide or less, surfaces hairless and smooth to slightly rough, sheaths often overlapping.

[photo of sheath, ligule and node] Sheaths are tubular, the edges fused at the front (a closed sheath) for the entire length or nearly so, hairless and smooth to slightly rough, and green to purplish. The ligule (membrane where the leaf joins the sheath) is thin and white translucent, 1 to 3 mm long, rounded to jagged along the top edge. Nodes are smooth. Stems are multiple from the base in a loose clump, erect to ascending, slender and smooth. 

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of maturing spikelets with purple lemma] Florets ripen quickly, often shedding before fully mature, the glumes left behind and persisting on the stalk.

[photo of mature floret and grain] Mature florets are brown. Grains are somewhat flattened, broadest above the middle, about 1 mm long and .75 mm wide, initially pale yellowish, ripening to dark brown.

Notes:

Fowl Manna Grass is common in Minnesota and widespread throughout the temperate regions of North America. It favors a wide range of wet habitats from open marshes, wetlands and lakeshores to semi-shaded woodland ponds. It is similar in form to the related American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis), which is most easily distinguished by the larger spikelet (to 7 mm long), lemma (2 to 2.7 mm long) and ligule (3 to 6 mm long). Some references list multiple varieties of G. striata, but these are not recognized in Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Kittson, Lake, Pope and Ramsey counties.

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