Culms 51-129 cm. Ligules 0.7-2.9 mm; blades
7-14 mm wide, linear to lanceolate, abaxial surfaces smooth, adaxial surfaces
sometimes densely pilose basally, otherwise scabrous. Panicles 16-34
cm, dense; lower branches 2-5 cm, divergent. Callus hairs 8-12
mm; glumes 2.7-4.1 mm; lower lemmas 2.5-3.9 mm, membranous, glume
like; upper lemmas 1.4-2.4 mm, completely surrounding the ovary; stamens
1, filaments dilated at the base; anthers 1.3-2.3 mm, yellow to orange;
styles 0.9-2.4 mm; stigmas 2.1-4 mm, purple to brown. 2n
Imperata brevifolia is native to wet or moist sites in the southwestern deserts from California, Nevada, and Utah to western Texas. Many of the populations that were used in developing the map no longer exist, but several post-1990 collections have been made in San Bernardino, Sonoma, Fresnoa, Santa Barbara, Butte, and Kern Counties of California. It also persists in the Grand Canyon National Park. Most collections from Nevada, Utah, and Texas were made before 1945, in sites that are now used
for housing or agriculture.
Imperata brevifolia was listed as a noxious weed by the state of
California. The reason for the listing is not clear; it may have stemmed
from confusion of this native species with one of the introduced weedy
species. In September 2003, Dr. Fred Hrusa succeeded in persuading the California authorities that Imperata
brevifolia should be taken off the state's noxious weed list.
Common Name: California satintail Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Perennial bunchgrass growing to nearly 150 cm tall, with flat leaves and a narrow, cylindrical inflorescence with silky white hairs dotted with brown anthers and stigmas. Vegetative: Blades 15-50 cm long, 4-15 mm wide, flat and linear, abaxial surfaces smooth, abaxial surfaces scabrous or sometimes densely pilose at the base; ligules 1-3 mm; stems 51-129 cm tall; rhizomatous with rhizomes hard and scaly. Inflorescence: Panicles white, contracted, dense, silky, 16-34 cm long, 3 cm wide; lower branches 2-5 cm long; spikelets 2-flowered, without awns, mostly obscured by 8-15-mm-long hairs from the spikelet base and the glumes; glumes 3-4 mm long, membranous, 5-veined; lower lemmas 2-4 mm long, membranous, upper lemmas 1-2 mm long, completely surrounding the ovary; anthers yellow or orange, 1-2 mm long; stigmas purple or brown, 2-4 mm long. Ecology: Found in springs, wet meadows, along streams, flood plains, desert canyons near water sources below 5000 ft. (1500 m); flowers May-October. Distribution: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. Notes: Many populations in the West have been replaced by housing developments or agriculture. It still persists in locations in California and Grand Canyon. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Imperata is named after the pharmacist Ferrante Imperato, while brevifolia means with short leaves. Synonyms: Imperata arundinacea subsp. Hookeri Rupr.; Imperata hookeri (Rupr.ex Anderson); Saccharum mexicanum Brouss. Editor: LKearsley, 2012