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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
Leaves generally basal; ligule membranous; blade flat
Inflorescence panicle-like, cylindric to head-like, dense; spikelets compressed, generally paired, pairs short-stalked; lower spikelet generally < upper, generally fertile, sessile; upper spikelet sterile, short-stalked
Fertile spikelet bisexual; glumes lanceolate, 1-veined, awn 0; axis breaking above glumes and between florets; florets 2–3; lemma back rounded, faintly 5-veined, awned
Sterile spikelet persistent; axis not breaking apart; glumes, lemmas linear-lanceolate, rigid, 1-veined
Chromosomes: 2n=14,16
Species in genus: 8 species: Eur, w Asia, n Africa
Etymology: (Greek: dog tail, from shape of inflorescence)
Reference: [Jirasek & Chrtek 1964 Novit Bot Inst Prag 1964:23–27]


C. echinatus L.


Annual, glabrous
Stems erect, 1–5 dm
Leaf: blade 4–10 cm, 2–5 mm wide
Inflorescence 1–4 cm, head-like, sometimes interrupted; central axis ± cylindric; spikelets ± 1-sided
Fertile spikelet 5–6 mm; glumes keeled, short-awned; lemma ± = glumes, back rounded, awn 3–10 mm
Sterile spikelet: glumes keeled, ciliate, long-pointed; lemma ± = glumes
Chromosomes: 2n=14,16
Ecology: Open, disturbed sites
Elevation: generally < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Central Western California, Western Transverse Ranges
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, e US; native to Europe

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