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Many plant and animal species flourish in the Western Nebraska area. Needlegrass (also known as Stipa comate or Hesperostipa comate) is a common plant species in the region. This paper uses spatial order to provide an empirical definition of needle grass. The plant's measurable characteristics, such as texture, color, height, and form, will be defined. In addition, the observable areas of the plant would be identified. My description will mainly focus on a single needle grass although I will also extend the description to cover how the needle grass looks while together in the field because it does not grow alone but in cluster.
The grass has a rough texture especially on the top surface which is hairy. However, the back surface of the leaf is not hairy and therefore appears to be smoother. Also the leaves at the top which have just emerged are more hairy than those at the basal which starts to dry up. The texture of the culm is very smooth unlike the top surface of the leaf.
Needle grass is mid-green in color. The leaves at the top of the plant appears to have more green pigment than those at the basal region which have a light brown color. The stem of the plant is also mid green in color. However, when a group of the needlegrass are observed the light brown color appears to be more dominant. This is unlike the time when one focus only on a single plant.
The plant that I was focusing on had a height of about three inches. Other needle-and-thread grass plants that had grown with it were a little shorter and a few were taller.
Similar to most grass needle-and-thread grass does not have branches. The leaves simply emanates from the stem of the plant. The plant has a three inches, narrow basal leaves which have inwardly rolled blades. The basal leaves are much longer and narrow as compared to the leaves along the stem. The plant is generally thin and is easily swayed to bend in the direction of the wind.
The flower of the plant has a leather like texture (hairy and a little hard). The color of the flower is light brown. It has a subterete shape that is almost but not precisely cylindrical with a length of about 10 mm. The margin of the lemma is convolute and covers the parea. The apex of the lemma has a single long awn with a column that is twisted. The column of the lemma awn also has a leather like surface which is veined.
The flower is also light brown in color. The length of the flower is about 1.5 mm. The flower contains three lodicules and three tiny anthers held by very thin filaments which can only be observed when a person is so close to the plant. At the tip of the anther is penicillate. The flower contains two thin stigma. Its panicle is contracted and partly remains in the sheath. The awn is twisted and has a length of about 4 inches. The awn is detached from the inflorescent and has seeds which makes it look like a short needle with long thread (Ogle et al.).
Most of the leaves are have a mid-green color with a narrow shape with a needle like structure. The leaves are long (about 10 inches) and flat and have rough surface. The leaf is directly attached to the twig. It only has one leaf blade implying that it is a simple leaf. The leaf margin of this plant is entire implying that it has a smooth margin. The other characteristic is that the leaf has parallel veins which are linear. Also, one of the distinctive observable feature of the leaf is the ligule which is split and membranous. The leaves that are mature, mainly at the bottom of the plant, roll inward taking a thread like shape.
The fruit is one sides and dry and the ovary wall is connected with the seed coat (Caryopsis). It has an adherent pericarp with hilum that is linear.
The seed has a length of 3/8 inch with a loosely spreading open panicle seed head that is 6 inch long
The stem is cylindrical with a very short diameter. The leaves are directly attached from the stem which connect the plant to the roots. The fibrous root of the needle-and-thread grass emanates from the stem and is partly visible even without uprooting the plant.
There are many observable features that can be seen if the needle-and-thread grass is closely observed. Although it is a small plant with a height of about 3 inches it has distinctive features that is different from other plants.
Ogle, Daniel; Majerus, Mark; St.John, Loren; Tilley, Derek. NEEDLE-ANDTHREAD Hesperostipa comata (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth,. Accessed from https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_heco26.pdf
Appendix: Image of the Needleandthread Grass
Retrieved from https://www3.northern.edu/natsource/GRASSES/Needle2.htm
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