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POACEAE (Gramineae) GRASS FAMILY

James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted

Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; sheath generally open; ligule membranous or hairy, at blade base. Inflorescence: various (of generally many spikelets). Spikelet: glumes generally 2; florets (lemma, palea, flower) 1–many; lemma generally membranous, sometimes glume-like; palea generally ± transparent, ± enclosed by lemma. Flower: generally bisexual, minute; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
650–900 genera; ± 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). [Barkworth et al. 2003 FNANM:25; Barkworth et al. 2007 FNANM:24] Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761–770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics. —Scientific Editors: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.
Unabridged references: [Hitchcock 1951 Manual grasses US, USDA Misc Publ 200; Clayton & Renvoise 1986 Kew Bull Add Series 13]

Key to Poaceae

ANTHOXANTHUM VERNAL GRASS, VANILLA GRASS
Annual, perennial herb, cespitose, sometimes rhizomatous. Stem: ascending to erect, 1–10 dm. Leaf: cauline or mostly basal, fragrant; auricles present or not; ligule membranous; blade flat or rolled, glabrous or hairy. Inflorescence: panicle- or spike-like. Spikelet: subsessile, laterally compressed; glumes > florets, = or not, tip acute, 1- or 3-veined; florets 3, lower 2 sterile or staminate, upper bisexual, breaking apart above glumes, florets falling as 1 unit; lemma of lower florets > upper floret, tip 2-forked or -lobed, hairy, 3-veined, awned at or below middle or awn 0; fertile lemma 3–7-veined, glabrous or hairy, awn 0; palea 0 in lower florets, present and < lemma in fertile floret, 1-veined.
about 50 species: temperate Eurasia, America, Africa, Oceania, subantarctic. (Greek: flower + yellow, referring to golden color of mature inflorescence) [Allred & Barkworth 2003 FNANM 25:758–764] As treated here, the genus including Hierochloe, which is readily distinguishable in North America, but not in Asia and southern hemisphere. Fresh leaves of some species used for fragrance in churches on saints' days and as incense by Native Americans. Anthoxanthum hirtum (Schrank) Y. Schouten & Veldcamp reported from northern California; records lacking.
Unabridged references: [Schouten & Veldkamp 1985 Blumea 30:319–351; Weimarck 1971 Bot Not 124:129–175]

Key to Anthoxanthum

A. odoratum L. SWEET VERNAL GRASS
NATURALIZED
Perennial herb. Stem: 3–6 dm, erect. Leaf: upper sheaths 4.5–9 cm; ligule 1–3 mm; auricles generally present; upper blades 3–6 cm, 3–10 mm wide, slightly ciliate and soft-hairy at base. Inflorescence: spike-like, congested, 2–14 cm, 5–15 mm wide. Spikelet: 7–10 mm; lower glumes 3–4 mm, upper glumes 8–10 mm; lemma hairs ± soft, hairs at lemma base colorless; sterile floret awns 2–9 mm.
2n=10,20. Meadows, pastures, openings in conifer forest, disturbed sites; generally < 1600 m. North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges, Inner North Coast Ranges, n&c Sierra Nevada, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area; widespread United States, temperate; native to Europe. Vanilla-like odor is from presence of coumarin, which has caused hemorrhaging in cattle when consumed in sufficient quantity. It is also the basis of a drug used to prevent blood clots. May–Jun {Weed listed by Cal-IPC} [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Aug 29 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Anthoxanthum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=13517, accessed on Aug 29 2014

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Anthoxanthum odoratum Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.