Diplachne fusca (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.
Family: Poaceae
bearded sprangle-top
[Leptochloa fusca ]
Diplachne fusca image
University of Wisconsin - Madison (WIS-VP)  
Etymology: Diplachne: Greek diploos for "double" and achne for "awn"
Plants: perennial grass
Conservation Status: Introduced - adventive
Road shoulders, pavement cracks, mud puddles and other low areas, lawns, mudflats, beaches, along railroads, and in open gravel.

This species is native to North America but is introduced in Wisconsin, where first collected in 1937. Two subspecies have been collected in the state: ssp. fascicularis (Lam.) P.M. Peterson & N. Snow and ssp. uninervia (J. Presl) P.M. Peterson & N. Snow. The latter has only been found once, in a prairie garden on the UW-Madison campus. It differs from the much more common ssp. fascicularis in its lowermost panicle branches being generally exserted from the sheath (vs. lowermost panicle branches partially or mostly inserted in the sheath) and obtuse to truncate lemma apices (vs. acute to acuminate). Growth form of ssp. fascicularis is variable with plants growing in wetter areas such as pools along railroads or at the edges of parking lots being erect, spreading-branched, and with fairly exserted panicles. Plants from pavement cracks and compacted gravel areas usually grow flush with the ground, their panicles mostly inserted in the sheaths.

Between 1937 and 1995, ssp. fascicularis was collected mainly in Dane Co. and the southeastern portion of the state. Starting in 2012, a more concerted effort by Emmet J. Judziewicz and John G. Zaborsky was made to collect this species in Wisconsin, and we now know that it has expanded its range considerably. It is very common in urban areas such as Madison, Milwaukee, Waukesha, and the Fox Valley but has now spread west and north to Bayfield, Chippewa, Lincoln, and Marinette Cos. as well as 13 additional counties.