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

POACEAE

GRASS FAMILY

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.

DIGITARIA

Robert Webster

Annual, perennial herb
Stems decumbent to erect
Leaves basal and cauline; ligule membranous, ciliate or not; blade generally flat
Inflorescence umbel- to panicle-like; 1° branches ± spike-like, spreading to ascending; spikelets generally many per branch, 2–3 per node, short-stalked to subsessile, on one side of axis
Spikelet compressed, falling as 1 unit; glumes unequal, upper glume < or = spikelet, appressed-hairy, clearly 3–5-veined, veins minutely ridge-like; florets 2, lower floret sterile, lemma texture like upper glume, upper floret fertile, lemma ± thin, flexible, back facing away from inflorescence axis, margin flat, tip generally obtuse; palea ± = lemma
Species in genus: ± 200 species: warm temp, tropical, worldwide
Etymology: (Latin: finger, from inflorescence branch arrangement)
Reference: [Webster 1987 Sida 12:209–222]

Introduced

D. ischaemum (Schreb.) Muhl.

Annual
Stem 1.5–5 dm; nodes 2–5
Leaf: sheath 1–12 cm, glabrous; ligule ± 1–2 mm; blade 1.5–9 cm, 2.5–5 mm wide, upper surface glabrous
Inflorescence: branches 1.5–6 cm; spikelets many, generally 3 per node, stalk 0.5–3 mm
Spikelet ± 2–2.5 mm, ± 1 mm wide, elliptic, purple; lower glume << 0.5 mm, upper glume 3/4 to = spikelet length; lower floret lemma 7-veined, acute
Chromosomes: 2n=36
Ecology: Disturbed places, fields
Elevation: < 300 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast, South Coast, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: to e US; native to Europe

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