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 decumbent to erect
Leaf: blade flat
Inflorescence umbel-like; branches 2–11, spike-like, with 2 rows of overlapping, sessile spikelets generally along 1 side of axis; axis tip ± naked
Spikelet bisexual, compressed; glumes unequal, wide, 1-veined, lower persistent, acute, upper deciduous, short-awned, awn generally curved; axis breaking apart above glumes and between florets; florets 3–5; lemma membranous, keeled, 3-veined, lateral veins generally faint, tip acuminate or short-awned, awn generally curved; palea ± = lemma
Species in genus: 13 species: Africa
Etymology: (Greek: finger + a small comb, from spikelet arrangement)
Reference: [Fisher & Schweickerdt 1941 Ann Natal Mus 10:47–77]


D. aegyptium (L.) Willd.


Annual, generally mat-like
Stem 2–4(10) dm, rooting at lower nodes
Leaf: blade < 15 cm, 4–5 mm wide, margin ciliate, hairs swollen at base
Inflorescence: branches generally 4–5, 1–5 cm
Spikelet ± 4 mm; upper glume keeled, 1.5–2 mm; florets 3; lemma widely ovate
Chromosomes: 2n=20,36,40,45,48
Ecology: Disturbed places
Elevation: < 300 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Joaquin Valley (Kern Co.), South Coast, Peninsular Ranges, Sonoran Desert
Distribution outside California: e&s US, tropical America, Asia; native to Africa

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