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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


H.E. Connor & S.J. Darbyshire

Perennial herb, cespitose, occasionally shortly rhizomed. Stem: erect to nodding, up to 1 m. Leaf: sheath glabrous or hairy, with tuft of hairs at tip; ligule a rim of hairs; blades persistent or breaking apart at ligules, flat or inrolled, glabrous or hairy. Inflorescence: generally raceme-like or few-branched, panicle-like. Spikelet: laterally compressed; glumes subequal, veins 3–13; florets 3–10, bisexual, breaking apart above glumes and between florets; callus sharp or ± blunt with lateral tufts of stiff hairs; lemma ovate to lanceolate with 2 complete or incomplete transverse rows of tufts of hairs occasionally reduced to marginal tufts, veins 5–9, 2-lobed, lobes often bristle-tipped, central awn from between lobes generally with twisted column. Fruit: obovate to elliptic.
45–50 species: temperate South America, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea. (Greek: wrinkled seed) [Darbyshire & Connor 2003 FNANM 25:309–312] Florets cross-pollinated and anthers long, or self-pollinated and anthers short. Rytidosperma biannulare (Zotov) Connor & Edgar and Rytidosperma richardsonii (Cashmore) Connor & Edgar occasionally escaped from research plots, not known to have persisted.

Key to Rytidosperma

R. penicillatum (Labill.) Connor & Edgar HAIRY OAT GRASS, POVERTY GRASS
Stem: 3–9 dm, short rhizomed. Leaf: generally basal, < stem, < 30 cm, flat or inrolled; Inflorescence: 4–10 cm. Spikelet: 10–15 mm; glumes 7.5–11 mm; florets 6–7; callus 0.5–1.5 mm, marginal hair tufts thick, overlapping lower row of lemma hairs; lemma 2–4.2 mm, generally glabrous above, a continuous row of hairs below, lateral lobes 5–13 mm, gradually narrowed to awns; central awn 5–17.5 mm, column 1.5–4 mm, reflexed, revealing palea tip.
2n=24. Disturbed areas; < 800 m. North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges, Central Coast, Western Transverse Ranges (Santa Ynez Mtns); to Oregon; Hawaii; native to Australia; naturalized in New Zealand. [Danthonia pilosa R. Br., misappl.] Jun–Jul {Weed listed by Cal-IPC} [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 24 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Rytidosperma, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 24 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Rytidosperma penicillatum 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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CCH collections by month

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