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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 generally erect; internode solid to hollow inside
Leaves basal and cauline; ligule short-hairy or membranous, ciliate
Inflorescence panicle-like, dense, generally cylindric; 1° branches spreading to appressed; spikelets many, generally clustered on one side of short 2° branch, short-stalked to subsessile, subtended by 1–15 bristles, bristles generally scabrous
Spikelet falling as 1 unit, generally elliptic; glumes unequal; florets generally 2, ± equal, lower floret sterile or staminate, palea generally < lemma, upper floret fertile, firm, generally hard, rough, margin inrolled, tip blunt
Species in genus: ± 100 species: warm temp, tropical Eurasia, Africa
Etymology: (Latin: bristly)
Reference: [Rominger 1962 Illinois Biol Monogr 29:1–132]
Some species cultivated for food.


S. pumila (Poir.) Roem. & Schult.

Stem 2–13 dm
Leaf: sheath 4–9 cm, glabrous; ligule ± 0.5–1 mm; blade 5–30 cm, 3–10 mm wide, upper surface glabrous
Inflorescence 2–6 cm; 1° branches 5–10 mm, axis short-hairy; bristles 4–12; spikelet stalk << 0.5 mm
Spikelet 3–3.5 mm, ± 1.5–2 mm wide; lower glume 1–1.5 mm, 3–5-veined, upper glume 0.5–0.7 X spikelet length; lower floret staminate, lemma 5-veined, tip acute, palea = lemma
Ecology: Generally moist sites, fields
Elevation: < 1200 m.
Bioregional distribution: e Klamath Ranges, Cascade Range Foothills, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, South Coast, East of Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: to s Canada, e US, Mexico; native to Europe
Flowering time: Jun–Oct
Synonyms: S. lutescens (Weigel) Hubb., S. glauca (L.) P. Beauv

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