Plants stoloniferous. Culms 10-30 cm, decumbent, rooting at the
lower nodes, branched above the base, with prominent prophylls. Sheaths
sparsely pilose, constricted at the summit; ligules about 0.5 mm, membranous,
ciliate; blades 3-15(18) cm long, 4-10 mm wide, thick, flat, glabrous,
apices blunt. Panicles 4.5-10 cm long, less than 1 cm wide; rachises
flattened, winged; branches 12-20, with 1-5 spikelets. Spikelets
3.5-5 mm, partially embedded in 1 side of the branch axes; lower glumes
about 1 mm, rounded, irregularly toothed; upper glumes and lower lemmas
about equal, 3-4 mm; upper lemmas papery, 5-veined, margins weakly clasping
the paleas; anthers 2-2.5 mm, tan or purple. Caryopses about 2
mm, oblong to obovate. 2n = 18.
Stenotaphrum secundatum grows on sandy beaches, at the edges of swamps
and lagoons, and along inland streams and lakes. It may be native to the southeastern
United States, being known from the Carolinas prior to 1800, but it has become
naturalized in most tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Stenotaphrum secundatum is planted for turf in the southern
United States and is now established from California to North Carolina and Florida.
Numerous cultivars have been developed. Specimens with variegated foliage, often
called S. secundatum var. variegatum Hitchc., are sometimes used
as an ornamental in hanging baskets and greenhouses.