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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology


Aristida stricta
Family: Poaceae

Natural History

Thin flowerstalks and leaves of wiregrass
Photo credit: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,

Wiregrass, also called pineland threeawn, is one of the most common grasses in the southern pine flatwoods and upland sandhills.

It is a favorite food of gopher tortoises and quail and provides valuable cover for many birds, reptiles, and small mammals. The young plants may also be used as a forage by livestock.

This is a fast-growing species that regenerates quickly after fires. The plant depends on regular summer burning in order to stimulate flowering and seed production.

Wiregrass is often confused with a similar plant, piney woods dropseed (Sporobolus junceus), which also has long, thin, wiry leaves. However, wiregrass has small tufts of hair at the leaf base; the dropseed stems are smooth and hairless.

Wiregrass is limited to the southeastern United States. It ranges from Mississippi to Florida but only as far north as South Carolina.

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