Tridens flavus, commonly called Purple Top or Grease Grass, is a native perennial, warm season grass. It begins growth in early spring and develops seed stalks from July to September.
Livestock enjoy the foliage in the early stages of growth, but the plant becomes coarse and tough when mature. On native ranges, Purple Top increases as other, more palatable grasses decrease from heavy, continuous grazing.
Turkey and quail consume the seeds in the fall, and it provides denning, nesting materials, and cover throughout the year. Deer occasionally eat the young foliage. Purpletop tridens supports several pollinator species. It is a larval host for the crossline skipper, little glassywing, and broad-winged skipper.
It typically grows to 30″-48″ in clumps and prefers dry or mesic soil conditions. Plants can be used as a native ornamental grass and are attractive with their reddish-purple inflorescence when planted en masse. It is salt tolerant and does well along roadsides.
Habitats include woodland openings, savannas, woodland borders, meadows in wooded areas, powerline clearances in wooded areas, limestone glades, fields, roadsides, and areas along railroads. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred. It does well when used for soil stabilization.
This plant is commonly found in the following mixes:
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