Grasses and grass-like plants, including sedges and rushes, are a diverse and important part of plant communities. On dry, rocky ridgetops of MarylandHeights, LoudounHeights, and Short Hill, poverty grass (Danthonia spicata) and greenish sedge (Carex virescens) are the most frequent species encountered. At lower elevations on these ridges, rock muhly (Muhlenbergia sobolifera), tall brome-grass (Bromus pubescens), and Bosc’s panicgrass (Dicanthelium boscii) are commonly found. In floodplain forests, visitors will observe even more species such as nodding fescue (Festuca subverticillata) and deer-tongue grass (Dicanthelium clandestinum). While walking along the rocky, flood-scoured riverbanks of the Potomac and Shenandoah, prairie grasses such as big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), the locally uncommon prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata), and the shoreline-stabilizing Emory’s sedge (Carex emoryi) are more likely to be seen.
Did You Know?
Thomas Jefferson visited Harpers Ferry in 1783 and wrote "The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature."