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
Stems tall, erect
Leaves cauline; sheaths > internodes; ligule short, membranous or hairy; blades flat or folded
Inflorescence panicle-like, silky-hairy
Spikelet bisexual, in pairs; lower spikelet sessile; upper spikelet stalked; pair falling with subtending axis segment as 1 unit or stalked spikelet deciduous; glumes, lemmas long-tapered; glumes > florets, 3–5-veined; florets 2, lower vestigial, obscure, upper fertile; lemma awned or awn 0; palea < lemma or 0
Species in genus: 35–40 species: tropical, subtropical, se Asia. Some ornamental, sugarcane (S. officinarum ) widely cultivated for sugar
Etymology: (Latin: sugar)


S. ravennae (L.) Murray


Stems densely tufted, generally 2–4 m
Leaf: ligule < 1 mm, thin; blade < 12 mm wide, generally densely hairy near ligule, strongly serrate
Inflorescence plume-like, 2.5–6 dm
Spikelet 3.5–7 mm; stalked spikelet deciduous; glumes lanceolate, base densely silky-hairy; lemma awned, awn 3–5 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=20
Ecology: Ditchbanks, marshes
Elevation: < 300 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sonoran Desert (Imperial Co.)
Distribution outside California: native to Eurasia
Synonyms: Erianthus r. (L.) P. Beauv

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