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Key to families | Table of families and genera

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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

Annual [rhizomatous perennial herb]. Stem: generally erect, 2–12(15) dm. Leaf: cauline; sheath glabrous, ribbed; ligule membranous, acute, entire or irregularly cut; blade flat, glabrous. Inflorescence: panicle-like; branches short, spike-like, ascending to appressed; spikelets 2-ranked, overlapping. Spikelet: ± round in outline; glumes ± equal, strongly laterally compressed, > adjacent lemmas, round to obovate in side view, keeled, wrinkled, 3-veined; axis breaking below glumes, falling as 1 unit; florets 1–2, bisexual or upper reduced; lemma 5-veined, acuminate, awn 0; palea narrow, ± = lemma.
2 species: North America, Eurasia. (J. Beckmann, German botanist, 1739–1811) [Hatch 2007 FNANM 24:484–486]
Unabridged references: [Reeder 1953 Bull Torrey Bot Club 80:187–196]

B. syzigachne (Steud.) Fernald AMERICAN SLOUGH GRASS
Annual, tufted. Stem: 2–12 dm. Leaf: ligule 4–11 mm, pubescent; blade 6–21 cm, 4–10(20) mm wide, flat, scabrous. Inflorescence: 7–30 cm, narrow, ± dense; branches 1-sided, generally 1–2 cm, ascending to appressed. Spikelet: 2–3 mm; glumes prominently keeled, glabrous to finely scabrous, tip short-pointed; floret 1; lemma 2–3 mm, lanceolate, acuminate, awn 0; palea ± equal lemma, acute.
2n=14. Margins of ponds, streams, marshes; < 2000 m. Northwestern California, Cascade Range, n Sierra Nevada, Sacramento Valley, n Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, Modoc Plateau, n East of Sierra Nevada; most of North America, except southeastern United States. [Beckmannia syzigachne subsp. baicalensis (Kusn.) Hultén] Used for forage. May–Jul [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 31 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Beckmannia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 31 2015

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click for enlargement Beckmannia syzigachne
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© 1995 Doreen L. Smith

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Beckmannia syzigachne 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.
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.