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.


Kelly W. Allred

Perennial with rhizomes
Stem erect, solid in X -section
Leaves cauline; ligule membranous, truncate; blade flat
Inflorescence panicle-like, ± cylindric; branches appressed, many, short, spike-like, densely silky
Spikelets in pairs, stalked, ± round in X -section, breaking below glumes, falling as 1 unit; glumes unequal, lower < upper, thinly membranous; florets 2, lower vestigial, obscure, upper bisexual, < glumes; lemma reduced, transparent or 0, awn 0; palea << lemma, ± vestigial; stamens 1–2; style exserted, stigmas plumose
Species in genus: 8 species: warm temp, tropical
Etymology: (F. Imperato, Italian naturalist, 1500's)


I. brevifolia Vasey


Rhizomes hard, scaly
Stem 0.7–1.5 m
Leaf: ligule densely ciliate; blade 15–50 cm, 4–15 mm wide, narrow at collar
Inflorescence 1–3 dm, plume-like, densely white-silky-hairy, appearing speckled from adherent brown anthers and stigmas; hairs 8–15 mm
Spikelet: glumes 2.5–5 mm, faintly 5-veined
Ecology: Wet springs, meadows, streamsides, flood plains
Elevation: < 500 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Joaquin Valley, South Coast, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, Mojave Desert, cultivated elsewhere
Distribution outside California: to Texas, n Mexico
Flowering time: Sep–May

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