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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



James P. Smith, Jr., except as specified

Annual to bamboo-like; roots generally fibrous
Stem generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid
Leaves alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear; 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; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose
Fruit: achene-like grain
Genera in family: 650–900 genera; ± 10,000 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials)
Reference: [Hitchcock 1951 Manual grasses US, USDA Misc Publ 200; Clayton & Renvoise 1986 Kew Bull Add Series 13]
See Glossary p. 26 for illustrations of general family characteristics. Generally wind-pollinated.



M. J. Harvey

Annual or perennial herb, generally tufted, sometimes from rhizomes or stolons
Stems generally erect
Leaf: sheath generally smooth, glabrous; ligule membranous; blade flat to rolled
Inflorescence panicle-like, densely cylindric to openly ovate
Spikelet: glumes generally subequal, back generally glabrous, vein generally finely scabrous, 1-veined, generally acute; floret 1, < glumes, generally breaking above glumes; callus glabrous to densely hairy; lemma generally 5-veined, veins not converging, sometimes extended as short teeth, awned from back or not; palea 0 to ± = lemma, translucent; anthers generally 3
Species in genus: ± 200 species: especially temp Am, Eurasia
Etymology: (Greek: pasture)
Reference: [Carlbom 1967 PhD OR State Univ]
Some cultivated in pastures, lawns.


A. exarata Trin.

Perennial 8–100 cm
Leaves: ligule 2.5–4 mm; lower blades 4–15 cm, 2–7 mm wide, flat
Inflorescence 5–30 cm, oblong to ± ovate in outline, ± open to dense, sometimes interrupted near base; 1° branches 1–2 cm, ascending to ± appressed
Spikelet: glumes 1.5–3.5 mm, acute to narrowly acuminate; callus hairs < 0.5 mm; lemma 1–2 mm, sometimes awned above middle, awn < 3.5 mm, straight to bent; palea < 1/3 X lemma; anthers 0.3–0.6 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=28,42,56
Ecology: Common. Moist or disturbed areas, open woodland, coniferous forest
Elevation: < 2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, White and Inyo Mountains, Desert Mountains (Panamint Mtns)
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, South Dakota, Mexico
Flowering time: Jun–Aug
Synonyms: A. ampla Hitchc.; A. longiligula Vasey vars. l. and australis J.T. Howell
Plants with dense, narrowly cylindric inflorescence and awned lemmas have been called var. monolepis (Torr.) Hitchc
Horticultural information: STBL.

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