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Anthoxanthum occidentale
CALIFORNIA SWEET GRASS

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: GRASS FAMILY
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.
Genus: AnthoxanthumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: VERNAL GRASS, VANILLA GRASS
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, cespitose, sometimes rhizomatous. Stem: ascending to erect, 1--10 dm. Leaf: cauline or mostly basal, fragrant; auricles present or not; ligule membranous; blade flat or rolled, glabrous or hairy. Inflorescence: panicle- or spike-like. Spikelet: subsessile, laterally compressed; glumes > florets, = or not, tip acute, 1- or 3-veined; florets 3, lower 2 sterile or staminate, upper bisexual, breaking apart above glumes, florets falling as 1 unit; lemma of lower florets > upper floret, tip 2-forked or -lobed, hairy, 3-veined, awned at or below middle or awn 0; fertile lemma 3--7-veined, glabrous or hairy, awn 0; palea 0 in lower florets, present and < lemma in fertile floret, 1-veined.
Species In Genus: about 50 species: temperate Eurasia, America, Africa, Oceania, subantarctic. Etymology: (Greek: flower + yellow, referring to golden color of mature inflorescence) Note: As treated here, the genus including Hierochloe, which is readily distinguishable in North America, but not in Asia and southern hemisphere. Fresh leaves of some species used for fragrance in churches on saints' days and as incense by Native Americans. Anthoxanthum hirtum (Schrank) Y. Schouten & Veldcamp reported from northern California; records lacking.

Anthoxanthum occidentale (Buckley) Veldkamp
NATIVE
Habit: Perennial herb, cespitose or with elongate rhizomes. Stem: 6--10 dm. Leaf: sheath minutely scabrous; ligule 2--4 mm; blade 7--30 cm, 5--15 mm wide, upper leaves stiffly erect, narrowed at base. Inflorescence: +- open, 7--13 cm; lower branches slender, often drooping. Spikelet: 5--6 mm; glumes +- equal, 3.5--5 mm; lemma rounded at slightly lobed tip, lemmas of lower florets glabrous to short hairy at base, hairs clear, upper lemma 3--5 mm, margins long-hairy. Chromosomes: 2n=42.
Ecology: Moist to dry, conifer forest; Elevation: < 750 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, NCoRO, CCo, SnFrB, SCoRO; Distribution Outside California: to Washington. Flowering Time: Jan--Jul
Synonyms: Hierochloe occidentalis Buckley
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr.
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Citation for this treatment: James P. Smith, Jr. 2016. Anthoxanthum occidentale, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=13521, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on May 04, 2016.


Anthoxanthum occidentale
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Anthoxanthum occidentale
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Anthoxanthum occidentale
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer

More photos of Anthoxanthum occidentale in CalPhotos


Geographic subdivisions for Anthoxanthum occidentale:
NCo, NCoRO, CCo, SnFrB, SCoRO;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.