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.



Mary E. Barkworth

Annual, perennial herb
Stem generally erect
Leaf: sheath appendaged; ligule membranous; blade generally flat
Inflorescence spike-like, dense, ± flat; axis sometimes breaking at nodes in fruit; spikelets 2-ranked, 1 per node, sessile, not sunken
Spikelet: glumes narrow, rigid, keeled, vein generally 1; florets 2, fertile, sessile and side-to-side, sometimes with vestigial floret between; lemma with keel near margin, keel and margins ciliate, veins 5, tip tapered, awn straight, scabrous
Species in genus: 5 species: Eurasia
Etymology: (Latin: ancient name for rye)


S. cereale L.

Annual, sometimes biennial
Stem 6–12.5 dm, glabrous except below inflorescence
Leaf: sheath glabrous, appendages ± 1 mm; blade 3–10 mm wide
Inflorescence 8–17 cm, generally not breaking apart
Spikelet: glumes 6–17 mm, keeled; lemma 10–16 mm, awn 2–7 cm; anthers 7.5–8.5 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=14,16,27–29
Ecology: Disturbed slopes, roadsides
Elevation: < 1800 m.
Bioregional distribution: n High Sierra Nevada, sw San Francisco Bay Area, s Modoc Plateau, White and Inyo Mountains, Mojave Desert, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: native to sw Asia
Flowering time: May–Aug

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