Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©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.


Annual, perennial herb
Stems generally erect
Leaves cauline; sheath glabrous; ligule membranous, acute, entire or irregularly cut; blades flat
Inflorescence panicle-like; branches short, spike-like, ascending to appressed; spikelets 2-ranked, overlapping
Spikelet ± round in outline; glumes ± equal, strongly compressed, wrinkled, 3-veined, winged; axis breaking below glumes, falling as 1 unit; florets 1–2, bisexual; lemma 5-veined, acuminate; palea narrow, < lemma
Species in genus: 2 species: North America, Eur
Etymology: (J. Beckmann, German botanist, 1739–1811)
Reference: [Reeder 1953 Bull Torrey Bot Club 80:187–196]

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