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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.



Craig W. Greene

Perennial, generally from rhizomes
Stems 1–15 dm, generally not branched, ± smooth; nodes generally 2–4
Leaves generally basal and cauline; sheath smooth or scabrous; ligule membranous; blade flat to inrolled
Inflorescence panicle-like, open to dense; branches ± drooping to appressed; spikelets ascending to appressed
Spikelet: glumes subequal, generally lanceolate, acute to acuminate, lower generally 1-veined, upper 3-veined; floret 1, breaking above glumes; axis prolonged beyond floret, hairy; callus hairy; lemma < glumes, awned from below middle to near base, tip generally 4-toothed, veins 3–5, awn straight to twisted, bent; palea ± = lemma, thin
Species in genus: ± 100 species: cool temp (especially moist montane); some forage value
Etymology: (Greek: reed grass)
Reference: [Greene 1980 Ph.D. Thesis Harvard University]
Hybridization, polyploidy, and asexual seed set contribute to taxonomic difficulty.


C. breweri Thurb.

Cespitose; rhizomes 0
Stem 1.5–3(5) dm; nodes 2–3
Leaves generally basal and lower stem; ligule 0.5–1.5 mm; blade 1 mm wide, flat or inrolled
Inflorescence 3–8 cm, open; lower branches < 2 cm, ± spreading
Spikelet: glumes 3–4 mm, smooth or keel scabrous; axis 1–2 mm, hairs ± 1 mm; callus hairs < 1 mm, sparse; lemma ± = glumes, awned near base; awn 4–5 mm, twisted, bent
Chromosomes: 2n=28,42
Ecology: Moist subalpine and alpine meadows, lake margins, streambanks
Elevation: 1300–3800 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, High Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: Oregon
Horticultural information: DRN, IRR: 1, 2, 6, 7, 15, 16; DFCLT.

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