Scientific Name: Paspalum setaceum

Common Name: thin paspalum

Other Common Names: bead grass, slender beadgrass, tufted bead-grass

Synonyms: Paspalum bushii, Paspalum ciliatifolium, Paspalum debile, Paspalum longepedunculatum, Paspalum muehlenbergii, Paspalum propinquum, Paspalum psammophilum, Paspalum pubescens, Paspalum rigidifolium, Paspalum separatum, Paspalum setaceum var. calvescens, Paspalum setaceum var. ciliatifolium, Paspalum setaceum var. longepedunculatum, Paspalum setaceum var. muehlenbergii, Paspalum setaceum var. psammophilum, Paspalum setaceum var. rigidifolium, Paspalum setaceum var. stramineum, Paspalum setaceum Michx. var. supinum, Paspalum setaceum var. villosissimum, Paspalum stramineum,Paspalum supinum

Habit: Thin paspalum are more prevalent in piedmont and mountainous regions while dallisgrass is more common in coastal plain areas. Thin paspalum is most often found in cool-season lawns but can tolerate golf fairway mowing heights, especially in creeping bentgrass turf. Thin Paspalum are typically found growing on open grasslands and wooded sites in sandy textured soils.

Leaves: The leaves of Thin Paspalum are the plant's best identification characteristic. The leaf margins have evenly spaced hairs, especially on the lower part of the leaf. The hairs typically extend at least a third of the total leaf length. Dallisgrass and smooth crabgrass are both similar to thin paspalum but do not have these evenly spaced hairs on the leaf margin.

Identifying Characteristics: Thin paspalum has evenly spaced hairs along the edge of leaves. The hairs are sometimes only found at the base of the leaf but typically extend at least one third of the way up the leaf and some times extend almost to the leaf tip. Dallisgrass does not have these evenly spaced hairs along the margin. Thin paspalum has seedheads that are similar to dallisgrass but not has hairy. Thin paspalum seedheads always arise from the plant at a sharp angle while dallisgrass often will have both angular and erect seedheads.

Flower Seed Head: Thin paspalum has rounded seed set in a spike consisting of two rows of seed along a stem at the top of the flowering stalk. Like dallisgrass, thin paspalum seed are not evenly distributed along the flowering stalk but tend to be found only on one side of the stalk. In contrast, other grasses typically have seed that are distributed on both sides of the stalk. The seedhead of thin paspalum is similar to dallisgrass but dallisgrass plants often have seedheads that are erect but thin paspalum flowering stalks are always slanted, even when plants are not clipped.

Seed Fruit: Seeds are small, round and flattened on one side and occur in two rows along the inflorescence branch. Seed are about the size and shape of the spikelet, pale, and shiny. Seed are not as hairy as dallisgrass.

Where Found: Thin paspalum can be found in the southern United States up to the upper transition zone. In Virginia, it is more common from Richmond and West but can be found most anywhere in the state.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: hairs on basal half only

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: less than 1 mm

  • Seed head: panicle

  • Width: less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: flat or oval