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Dichanthelium clandestinum (L.) Gould


KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCyperalesFlowering plants including grasses
FamilyPoaceaeGrasses (but not sedges or rushes)
GenusDichantheliumFrom the Greek dicha, “in two or bifid,” and anthele, “a type of inflorescence, a little flower,” from anthelion, a diminutive of anthos, “flower”
SpeciesclandestinumHidden, of uncertain application

About plant names...

Deertongue is native to eastern North America. It prefers partially sunny sandy, acidic soils, such as woodlands, savannas, swamps, and stream and pond boundaries.

Plants: Plants are 18-54" (45-137 cm) tall, unbranched at first, branching occasionally during the fall. Spreading via their root systems as well as by seed, they often appear in clonal clusters. Stems (culms) are hairy.

Leaves: Five to ten clasping, alternate leaves occur along the stem. Each leaf is up to 10" (25 cm) long × 1" (3 cm) wide, and lanceolate, widest about a third of the way from the stem and tapering to a sharp tip. They may have a few thin hairs, increasing in density closer to the stem. Veins are parallel to the long dimension.

Flowers: There are two types of flowerheads. Topping the main stem is a panicle that branches into many fine wavy spikelets tipped by flowers that are open, available for pollination. These flowerheads are prominant, 2½-6" (6.3-15 cm) in size, and distinctive. Hidden in the leaf sheaths of secondary branches that appear during the fall are a second type of flowerhead, containing cleistogamous flowers, that is, flowers that never open, instead fertilizing themselves. Flowers appear from June to September.

Fruits: Seeds are ~¹/₁₆" (2-2.5 mm) long, ovoid in shape, and somewhat flattened, in green or purple husks.

Medical: Deertongue has been used to help treat malaria, but it contains coumarins, which thin the blood and cause liver damage.

Online References:

Dichanthelium clandestinum on illinoiswildflowers.info

Dichanthelium clandestinum on Discover Life

Dichanthelium clandestinum on Wikipedia

Dichanthelium clandestinum on gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org

Dichanthelium clandestinum on wikis.evergreen.edu

Dichanthelium clandestinum on michiganflora.net

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

About 3" x 3". · 12/12/2020

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

8/31/2021 · Hackett and Minot Trails, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

6/25/2015 · Far and Near
≈ 4 × 5" (11 × 12 cm)

Panicum clandestinum L.


Dichanthelium clandestinum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

6/21/2017 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 11 cm)

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

About 2" x 3". · 12/12/2020

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

(Dichanthelium clandestinum)? · 5/31/2016 · J. Harry Rich State Forest, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

6/25/2015 · Far and Near
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 20 cm)

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

About 7" x 9". · 12/12/2020

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

6/25/2015 · Far and Near
≈ 5 × 8" (12 × 19 cm)

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

8/31/2021 · Hackett and Minot Trails, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 3 × 5" (8.4 × 12 cm)


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