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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.


Robert Webster

Annual, perennial herb
Stems prostrate to erect and tufted; internode spongy inside, sometimes hollow
Leaves basal and cauline; sheath generally glabrous; ligule short-hairy or membranous, ciliate
Inflorescence generally panicle-like, dense, ± cylindric (raceme-like, spikelets few in P. clandestinum), spikelets many, short-stalked to sessile, clustered, generally 1–4 per cluster, subtended by 5–50 flexible bristles; spikelet cluster and bristles generally falling as 1 unit
Spikelet compressed; glumes 1–2, lower glume < upper or 0, upper ± = spikelet; florets 2, lower floret generally sterile, lemma like glumes, upper floret fertile, lemma firm, ± thick or hard, smooth or scabrous, generally dull, margin flat to inrolled, tip blunt
Species in genus: ± 80 species: warm temp, tropical Eurasia, Africa
Etymology: (Latin: feather bristle)
Some species cultivated for ornamental, food.


P. villosum R. Br.

Perennial, cespitose
Stem erect, 1.6–7.5 dm
Leaf: sheath 4–10 cm, glabrous; ligule ± 1–1.5 mm; blade 5–40 cm, 2–4.5 mm wide, upper surface glabrous to hairy
Inflorescence 4–8 cm; 1° branches (including bristles) 3–5 cm, glabrous; bristles subtending cluster 30–50
Spikelet 9–11 mm, ± 1.5 mm wide, lanceolate, green to white; lower glume < 1 mm, veins not visible; upper glume ± 0.5 X spikelet length; lower floret sterile or staminate, lemma 7–9-veined, tip acuminate, palea ± = lemma or 0; upper floret ± = to slightly > lower floret
Ecology: Waste places, urban roadsides
Elevation: < 100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Southwestern California, Sonoran Desert, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: to Texas; native to Africa
Flowering time: Jun–Aug

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