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, sometimes from rhizomes or stolons
Stems spreading to decumbent
Leaf: blade flat
Inflorescence panicle-like, ± narrow; branches ± clustered, ascending to erect, ± dense
Spikelet bisexual; glumes equal or subequal, generally > lower floret, ± membranous, acuminate, awn 0, lower glume ± 1-veined, upper 3-veined; axis breaking apart above glumes and between florets; florets 2; lemma membranous, keeled, 3-veined; palea < and enclosed by lemma
Species in genus: 16 species: sw CA (s ChI), Mex, w South America
Etymology: (Greek: double small flower, from 2 small florets)
Reference: [Swallen & Tovar 1965 Phytologia 11:361–376]

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