The Oregon Semaphore
Welcome to my essay series about rare grasses: The Oregon Semaphore. The name comes from Oregon semaphoregrass, Pleuropogon oregonus, a rare native endemic in Oregon. The inflorescence in Pleuropogon is a raceme, in which the spikelets are arranged in a single line down the stem, like flags of a semaphore. Although traffic lights are considered a type of semaphore today, traditional semaphore communication involved waving flags and was widely used at sea and for railroads. The spikelets along the stalk in the inflorescence of Pleuropogon species dangle like flags. Like a semaphore, the essays in this series will communicate information related to Oregon’s native flora, starting with the namesake plant, our rare Pleuropogon oregonus.