Aristida schiedeana var. orcuttiana is a perennial threeawn whose lateral awns are shorter than 3mm and in which the first glume is longer than the second. The inflorescence is an open panicle. The column is twisted and the awn is bent.
FNA 2003, Gould 1980
Common Name: Orcutt's threeawn Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Tufted perennial, stems in small or rather large clumps mostly 30-100 cm tall, unbranched except at the base. Vegetative: Sheaths rounded or basal ones becoming flattened in age, glabrous or occasionally scabrous-pubescent, short or long hairy on the collar, ligule a dense fringe of short hairs, blades 1-3 mm broad, flat or more often involute, relatively long. Inflorescence: Panicle mostly 15-30 cm long with slender, flexuous branches, the lowermost to 15 cm long, usually widely spreading or deflexed at maturity and often bare of spikelets below the middle; branchlets and spikelets more or less appressed along the main branches; glumes glabrous or scabrous-pubescent in lines, mostly unequal, second usually 8-12 mm long, first about two-thirds as long; body of lemma minutely rugose, dark violet or blotched with violet at maturity, mostly 5-7 mm long with pubescent callus; awn column scabrous, tightly twisted, 2-4 mm long, lateral awns usually absent or minute, rarely 2 mm or more long; central awn short, delicate mostly 6-10 mm long, sharply geniculate at the apex of the awn. Ecology: Found on dry slopes in grasslands, woodlands and forest openings from 4,000-7,000 ft (1219-2134 m); flowers August-September. Notes: Considered one of the better forage species among the three awns, greens up early in the spring. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Aristida is from the Latin arista for awn, while purpurea is Latin for purple, orcuttiana is named after Charles Russell Orcutt (1864-1929) a California botanical collector. Synonyms: Aristida orcuttiana Editor: SBuckley, 2010