Plant Image
Plant - fall
Iron King Tr
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Digitaria californica - Arizona cottontop

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Iron King Tr
Plant image
Iron King Tr
Plant image
Ligule and hairs
Iron King Tr
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Rocky ridges, margins of fields
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 1000 - 6000 feet

General Description

Desc: Tall, 1 to 4 feet, with rather hard round stems sometimes bent abruptly, like a knee. Seedhead looks cottony when mature, before seeds fall.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Leaf Arrangement: Leaves basal and erect  Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - contracted  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jul - Nov

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: Multi-flowered  Spikelet Arrangement: All around branches
Awns: Absent   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Dense slender seedheads 2-6 inches long with spikelets which have silky, long, whitish or purplish hairs.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: Y  Blade Cross Section: Flat or folded  
Blade Notes: 2-5 mm wide. Leaves do not clasp the stem firmly, but pull away, exposing a smooth purple to green internode.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Basal sheaths densely hairy with long, soft hairs; upper sheaths smooth without hairs, densely hairy with long, soft hairs, or densely covered wth matted and tangled hairs. Ligules 1.5-6 mm, appearing torn at the edge or irregularly cleft.

Forage Value: Good.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 3.1  
Last Updated: June 15, 2013  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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