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Weed Identification

whitegrass

Family

Poaceae

Scientific Name

Leersia virginica

Other Common Names:

whitegrass
leersie de virginie
Virginia cutgrass
virginian cutgrass
white cutgrass
white grass

Identifying Characteristics

Grass Family (Poaceae) Whitegrass is a perennial grass that is native to eastern North America. It is 1 to 3 feet tall, branching occasionally; it is erect to spawling and flowers from July to October. Whitegrass is a good example of the kinds of grasses that grow in wooded areas. Such grasses usually have delicate tintextured foliage and their panicles or racemes are slender and lanky with small spikelets. As a general rule, they are not very showy. Whitegrass is fairly easy to identify because its spikelets are appressed together to form a single row along the upper half of each branchlet. Each spikelet is single-flowered, oblongoid, and often ciliate along the margins of its lemma. Each floret of whitegrass produces only 2 anthers; this is unusual, because most grasses produce 3 anthers per floret. It is easily confused with the non-native and invasive Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum). Whitegrass may be distinguished from Japanese stilt grass by its lack of a prominent shiny leaf midvein. It has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate

Where Found

Whitegrass is typically found in partially shaded low-lying wet areas

Leaf Hair on Upper Surface

Varies: 
no hairs
hairs on basal half only

Mature Leaf Width

Varies: 
less than 5 mm
6 to 15 mm

Seedhead

panicle

Life Cycle

perennial

Auricle

present

Ligule

membrane

Ligule Length

Varies: 
less than 1 mm
1-2 mm

Plant Type

Grass