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 thick rhizomes or stolons, forming dense stands
Stem tall, erect
Leaves cauline; sheaths open; ligule short, membranous, truncate or hairy; blade flat or folded, generally deciduous
Inflorescence panicle-like
Spikelet: glumes unequal, lower > upper, 1–3-veined; axis long-soft-hairy; florets 1–10, breaking above glumes and between florets; lower florets sterile or staminate, upper bisexual; lemmas lanceolate, glabrous, generally 3–5-veined; palea << lemma; stamens generally 2–3
Species in genus: 3 species: temp, tropical
Etymology: (Greek: growing in hedges)
Reference: [Clayton 1968 Taxon 17:168–169]


P. australis (Cav.) Steud.


Stem 2–4 m
Leaf: blade generally 20–45 cm, 1–5 cm wide, margins scabrous, generally breaking at collar
Inflorescence 15–50 cm, plume-like, oblong to obovoid, purplish to whitish
Spikelets 10–16 mm; lower glume 3–7 mm, upper glume 5–10 mm; florets 2–10
Chromosomes: 2n=36,44,46,48,49–52, 54,72,84,96
Ecology: Pond and lake margins, sloughs, marshes
Elevation: < 1600 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: worldwide
Flowering time: Jul–Nov
Synonyms: P. communis Trin., including var. berlandieri (E. Fourn.) Fernald
Perhaps most widely distributed of all vascular seed plants
Horticultural information: IRR or WET, SUN: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; STBL; INV.

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