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Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; 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; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
Genera In Family: 650--900 genera; +- 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). Note: Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761--770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.

Habit: Perennial herb from scaly rhizomes or glabrous stolons; dioecious (monoecious). Stem: matted (< 5 cm) to ascending and erect (<= 80 cm), stiff, glabrous, solid in ×-section. Leaf: conspicuously 2-ranked; ligule membranous or fringed; blade flat or +- rolled, if short awl-like, generally glabrous, occasionally with hairy tufts at collar. Inflorescence: panicle- or raceme-like (a single spikelet); spikelets short-pedicelled (sessile), staminate inflorescence sometimes above leaves. Spikelet: unisexual; pistillate generally = staminate, generally laterally compressed; glumes unequal (0), firm, awns 0, lower 3(5)-veined, upper 5--7(9)-veined; axis breaking above glumes and between florets; florets 3--20; lemma wide narrowing to acuminate tip, 7--11-veined, awn 0; palea < or > lemma; keel minutely hairy or scabrous.
Species In Genus: 9 species: North America, South America, 1 sp. in Australia. Etymology: (Greek: in 2 rows, from leaf arrangement)
eFlora Treatment Author: Hester L. Bell
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Citation for this treatment: Hester L. Bell 2016. Distichlis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 14, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 14, 2016.

Distichlis spicata
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Distichlis littoralis
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© 2011 Steve Matson
Distichlis spicata
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© 2003 George W. Hartwell
Distichlis spicata
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© 2005 Steve Matson
Distichlis spicata
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Distichlis spicata
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© 2006 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Distichlis in CalPhotos