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.



Dieter H. Wilken

Annual, perennial herb
Stems ascending to erect
Leaves basal and cauline; appendages 0 or small, acute to obtuse; ligule membranous to translucent, obtuse to truncate; blade generally flat, margin minutely scabrous
Inflorescence panicle-like, cylindric to ovoid, dense; branches spike-like, short
Spikelet ± sessile, strongly laterally compressed; glumes subequal, membranous, keel generally stiff-ciliate (comb-like), pointed to awned at obtuse to truncate tip, 3-veined; floret 1, breaking above glumes, bisexual; lemma generally awnless at wide, truncate tip, 3–7-veined; palea ± = lemma
Species in genus: 15 species: temp Am, Eurasia
Etymology: (Greek: a marsh reed)


P. alpinum L.


Stems generally clumped, 2–6 dm
Leaf: basal loosely tufted; cauline blade 2–12 cm, 3–8 mm wide
Inflorescence 1–6 cm, 7–12 mm wide, ovoid (often cylindric at low elevations)
Spikelet: glumes 2–5 mm, scabrous on back, awned at wide acuminate tip, awn 2–3 mm; lemma 2–3 mm, puberulent on back
Chromosomes: 2n=14,28
Ecology: Wet meadows, streambanks, coniferous forest, alpine
Elevation: 1500–3350 m (NCo, NCoR: < 1500 m).
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Klamath Ranges, n&c North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains, East of Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, e Canada, ne US, Mexico; also in S.America, Europe
Flowering time: Jul–Aug
Horticultural information: STBL.

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