Feb. 11, 2020

porcupine grass, Hesperostipa spartea

Here are the dangly anthers and feathery pistils of porcupine grass. Fascinating enough, but it is the seeds of grasses like this that are the true wonders. Porcupine seeds develop awns up to about seven inches long. Those awns are composed of three strands, two of which spiral around the third. Those spirals expand and contract to different degrees with variation in humidity. This causes the awn to curl and flex, driving the sharp pointed seed into the ground. Porcupine grasses plant themselves! This grass grows in prairies in CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NM, OH(T), OK, PA, SD, WI, WY, AB, BC, MB, ON, and SK. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 6/7/14. Grass family, Poaceae.