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104 THE GREAT LAKES BOTANIST Vol. 58
NEW RECORDS FOR SOME OLD GRASSES IN WISCONSIN
John G. Zaborsky Wisconsin State Herbarium Department of Botany University of Wisconsin–Madison Madison, Wisconsin 53706 email@example.com
Apera interrupta(L.) P. Beauv. Poaceae Silky Bent Grass, Interrupted Windgrass
Significance of the Report. The third record for Wisconsin of a rare grass first collected in 1981 and not again until 2008 and 2016.
Previous Knowledge. Native to Europe, Apera interrupta has been introduced sparingly across North America, with most records from the western states (Allred 2007). The species is rare in Michigan, having been first collected in 1989 (Voss and Reznicek 2012). In the Chicago region, it is known from DuPage County, Illinois and Porter County, Indiana, where first collected in 1992 (Wilhelm and Rericha 2017). Apera interrupta has also been known from Ontario, Canada since 1974 (McNeill 1981) and was first collected in Ohio in 1980 (Cusick and Brandenburg 1984). In all of these areas, this species is associated with dry, often sandy and rocky, disturbed soils along trails, railroads, or gravel roads. Only three records are known from Wisconsin, the first having been collected in 1981 in the Village of Sobieski, Oconto County (Solheim and Judziewicz 1984). No further collections were made until 2008, when it was collected on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in Brown County (Judziewicz et al. 2014).
Discussion. The population reported here represents only the third time the species has been collected in Wisconsin and is a significant range extension from the northeastern part of the state. The new population was found growing in a sandy, weedy area near a public beach in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County. The area is directly adjacent to a parking lot not far from the shore of Lake Michigan. This area had seemingly been planted with prairie plants such as Koeleria macrantha(Ledeb.) Schult. and Tradescantia ohiensisRaf., but also had numerous weeds including Medicago lupulinaL., Festuca myurosL., Lolium pratense (Huds.) Darbysh., Lolium perenneL., and Linum perenneL. Only a few individuals of Apera interruptawere found in 2016, but during a subsequent visit to the site in 2017, I recorded at least a dozen individuals of varying sizes; the plants
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always occupied bare soil patches that were not overtopped by other vegetation. Easy (1992) reports that in England, this species usually occurs on disturbed, dry soils, where it is normally short in stature. It is apparently not a good competitor, as it tends to disappear from these sites when perennial species become well- established. However, it may persist in the seedbank for long periods of time (Easy 1992). It seems plausible that this species could exist at other locations in Wisconsin, but that it may appear in an area only for a season or two before it is quickly crowded out.
Apera interruptacould be mistaken for a species of AgrostisL., but it differs in having firm lemmas, well-developed paleas that are always present, and conspicuous awns.
Specimen Citation. Wisconsin: Milwaukee Co.: Milwaukee, Grant Park, public beach off E. Oak Creek Parkway. Small, sandy-soiled planting area next to parking lot. 42.906993, –87.842276. June 11, 2016, J. G. Zaborsky 1034 (MIL).
Bouteloua dactyloides(Nutt.) Columbus Poaceae Buffalo Grass
Significance of the Report. First collection from Wisconsin in 25 years of a grass native to the Great Plains.
Previous Knowledge. Bouteloua dactyloides, long known as Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Englm., is a dioecious, perennial grass that is an important component of the shortgrass prairies of North America. Recent phylogenetic analyses have shown that this iconic and distinctive plant is embedded within the New World genus Bouteloua Lag. (Peterson et al. 2015). This short, turf-forming grass is native to the Great Plains, from the prairie provinces of Canada through the desert southwest and into Mexico (Snow 2003). It has been introduced east of the Mississippi River in Michigan and Illinois, as well as in Virginia. It was first collected in Michigan in 2002, where it occurs along roadsides (Voss and Reznicek 2012). In Illinois, it has been collected in seven counties in the Chicago region, where it was first discovered in 1973 (Wilhelm and Rericha 2017). This species was first collected in Wisconsin in 1956 from a railroad yard in La Crosse, La Crosse County. It was not collected again until 1980, from along railroad tracks in Muscoda, Grant County. Eleven years later, it was documented by two different collectors from Iowa County. Both of these specimens, housed at MOR, have the same collection date (July 13, 1991). One (L. Skizas
107) was collected “4.7 mi north of Barneveld” and the other (K. Altvatter 9) from the “jct. of Knutson Rd. and Lakeview Rd.” This road intersection is approximately 4.7 mi northwest of the center of Barneveld, and the specimens could conceivably have come from the same population. However, they give differing habitat information: “low ground, cave-fed spring” for the former and “along roadside near xeric woods” for the latter. Discussion. The new population reported here was discovered in 2016 in Marquette County. While looking for weeds at a highway rest stop, I came across a strange-looking turf growing next to the off-ramp that leads from the highway
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into the parking lot. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the grass was flowering and recognized it as male plants of B. dactyloides. I revisited the site in 2017 and was able to find both male and female plants growing in the same place as the previous collection. I did not find any other patches at the rest stop. This location is along a major highway (I-39) and the plants could have been introduced via vehicles travelling through the rest stop.
Bouteloua dactyloides is not likely to be confused with any other grass in Wisconsin. It is our only species of grass that is dioecious, and the morphology of the female spikelets is unique. The female spikelets each contain one floret and are borne in groups of three to five, and each individual spikelet is enclosed in a hard burr formed by its glumes. Our only other grass that has a hard burr surrounding its spikelets is Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fernald, but that species differs in not forming stoloniferous mats, having spikelets with two florets (one bisexual, the other usually staminate), and burrs formed by highly reduced branches. The burrs of C. longispinus are extremely sharp and painful, while those of B. dactyloidesare not. Staminate individuals of B. dactyloidesresemble other species of Boutelouain Wisconsin, but readily differ in their short, stoloniferous habit and unisexual florets.
Specimen Citation. Wisconsin: Marquette Co.: Forming a large turf alongside a highway off-ramp at Rest Area 82, along I-39, north of Westfield. 43.947704, –89.483775. May 30, 2016, J. G. Zaborsky 983 (MIL, UWSP).
Bouteloua gracilis(Kunth) Lag. exGriffiths Poaceae Blue Grama
Significance of the Report. First collection from Wisconsin in 40 years of a grass native to the Great Plains.
Previous Knowledge. Bouteloua gracilisis native to the Great Plains region, extending from Canada to central Mexico (Wipff 2003). This species is considered introduced in Wisconsin and was first collected in 1936 from along a railroad in Richland County. In southern Wisconsin it was collected only three more times: in Juneau County in 1940, in Dane County in 1950, and in Green County in 1961. All of these collections were from along railroads as well. Bouteloua gracilis was collected a handful of times between 1964 and 1977 in the village of Whiting in Portage County in a 30-acre plot known locally as the Whiting Triangle (Freckmann 1978), but it was not relocated in 2012 (Judziewicz et al. 2014). This location harbors many interesting prairie plants at the edge of their Wisconsin ranges, but the location is adjacent to a railroad and the B. gracilis population was probably introduced there. Fassett (1951) maps collections of this species from both St. Croix and Pierce counties, but no vouchers to corroborate its existence in those counties have been found. Other western prairie species are native to that area of Wisconsin, and B. gracilis could potentially have been native there as well.
Discussion. The new population reported here was discovered in 2017 in Marquette County. While revisiting the location of Bouteloua dactyloides that I
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had discovered in 2016 (see above), I found Bouteloua gracilis growing in the same area. The B. gracilisplants were growing within the B. dactyloidesturf and conceivably could have been introduced with the latter. Bouteloua graciliscould be confused with the native B. hirsuta Lag., but differs by lacking a naked bristle-like extension of the spike rachis.
Specimen Citation. Wisconsin: Marquette Co.: Growing in a lawn along a highway off-ramp at Rest Area 82, along I-39, north of Westfield. 43.947704, –89.483775. July 05, 2017, J. G. Zaborsky 1310 (MIL, OSH, UWGB, UWSP, WIS).
Festuca myurosL. Poaceae Rat-tail Fescue
Significance of the Report. Three new records for a weedy European grass last collected in Wisconsin 45 years ago.
Previous Knowledge. Festuca myurosis an exotic grass introduced to North America from Europe (Lonard 2007). It is widespread across the United States, although most records are from the transmountain West and in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. It was previously placed in the genus Vulpia C.C. Gmel. as
V.myuros(L.) C.C. Gmel. This weedy annual was first collected in Wisconsin in 1914 in Sheboygan County (Shinners 1940). It was not collected again in the state until 1970 in Winnebago County (Harriman 1971). In Michigan, it is reported as “rarely established,” having been first recorded in 1976, and is currently known from only two counties (Voss and Reznicek 2012). It is known from scattered localities in the Chicago region, having been first collected there in 1973 (Wilhelm and Rericha 2017). Discussion. Three new localities for Festuca myurosare reported here, two of which are county records. The first collection is from Winnebago County, in the Village of Fox Crossing. A few small individuals were found growing in gravelly soil at the bottom of a hillside. The Friendship State Trail runs along the top of this hill and is built on the bed of an old railroad. The old railroad ballast makes up the majority of the hillside and includes other weedy species such as Capsella bursa-pastoris(L.) Medik., Cerastium fontanum Baumg., EquisetumarvenseL., and Dracocephalum parviflorum Nutt. A year later, I found F. myuros in Milwaukee County at the same location as Apera interrupta (see above). Here, the plants were quite robust, multi-stemmed, and reaching about 40 cm in height. The third locality was discovered in Rock County in 2017, where the plants were growing on a sandy hillside with crumbling sandstone outcrops. This area has a nice community of remnant dry prairie that is being actively managed. The plants at this locality were numerous but small in stature. While the first two populations were discovered in weedy sites where they may not persist longterm, the Rock County population has the potential to be detrimental to the surrounding area. Festuca myuroshas been shown to negatively impact the survival of native perennial grasses in California (Brown and Rice 2000), which suggests that it could spread throughout this location and possibly suppress the native vegetation. Dry prairie and rock outcrop species such as Lechea tenuifolia Michx.,
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Selaginella rupestris (L.) Spring, Tradescantia ohiensis, and Dichanthelium columbianum (Scribn.) Freckmann, among others, all occur here in a rather small area.
Festuca myuroscould occur elsewhere in the state but may be overlooked due to its normally short stature, annual habit, early-blooming period (mid-May), and readily-disarticulating spikelets. It most closely resembles the native Festuca octofloraWalter, but can be distinguished from that species by its lower glume that is less than half as long as the upper glume. In the specimens of F. myuros collected in Wisconsin so far, the lemmas also have awns that are much longer than those found in F.octoflora.
Specimen Citation. Wisconsin: Winnebago Co.: Village of Fox Crossing, Fritse Park. Growing at bottom of trail at edge of lawn on north side of Friendship State Trail with Cerastium fontanum, Equisetum arvense. 44.206459, –88.471728. June 21, 2015, J. G. Zaborsky 668 (OSH, UWSP, WIS); Wisconsin: Milwaukee Co.: Milwaukee, Grant Park. Large, tufted plant growing in a gravelly planted area beside beach parking lot. Growing with Apera interrupta, Koeleria macrantha, Lolium perenne, Medicago lupulina. 42.906993, –87.842276. June 11, 2016, J. G. Zaborsky 1042 (MIL); Wisconsin: Rock Co.: Evansville, Magnolia Bluff County Park. Numerous plants growing in an open area on a sandy hillside with Tradescantia ohiensis, Potentilla recta, Lechea tenuifolia. 42.730691, –89.355459. June 13, 2017, J. G. Zaborsky 1245 (WIS).
Sporobolus schoenoides(L.) P.M. Peterson Poaceae Swamp Pricklegrass, False Timothy
Significance of the Report. The first collection in 45 years of a rare, halophytic grass in Wisconsin.
Previous Knowledge. This Eurasian grass was long-known in older manuals as Crypsis schoenoides (L.) Lam. or Heleochloa schoenoides (L.) Host. Sporobolus schoenoides is an annual grass that in the US is most abundant in California but is also known from scattered collections in the Midwest and Northeast (Hammel and Reeder 2003). In California, it is most commonly found around drying lake margins and vernal pools. In the Midwest and Northeast, it is associated with waste ground, especially around railroad tracks and saline areas. In the Chicago region, it was first collected in 1893 and is known from several counties (Wilhelm and Rericha 2017). The species is rare in Michigan, having been first collected in 1930 (Voss and Reznicek 2012), where it often associates with other “highway halophytes” such as Spergularia media (L.) Griseb., Muhlenbergia asperifolia (Trin.) Parodi, and Centaurium pulchellum (Sw.) Hand.- Mazz. (Reznicek 1980). Sporobolus schoenoides was first collected in Wisconsin in 1936, in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County (Shinners 1940). It was then collected throughout Milwaukee between 1937 and 1940 along railroad tracks and in vacant lots; it was collected in similar habitats in Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac County in 1940 and Racine, Racine County in 1942. It was not collected again until 1972 in Sturtevant, Racine County.
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Discussion. The collection reported here is the first for Sporobolus schoenoides in 45 years and represents a county record. Numerous individuals were found growing in pavement cracks and crushed gravel edges of a parking lot at a highway rest stop along I-94 between Johnson Creek and Aztalan in Jefferson County. The plants were growing with Plantago major L. and Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop., which are typical pavement crack plants. Ditches and pavement edges throughout the rest stop contained numerous halophytic plants, attesting to the fact that the area must have heavy salt application in winter. It seems plausible that this low-growing grass could occur in other parts of the state, but in areas that are not easily accessible such as railroad yards and highway edges.
Specimen Citation. Wisconsin: Jefferson Co.: Johnson Creek, I-94 Rest Area
14. Common in pavement cracks with Digitaria sanguinalis and Plantago major. 43.086757, –88.823885. October 11, 2017, J. G. Zaborsky 1485 (MIL, OSH, UWGB, UWSP, WIS). LITERATURE CITED
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