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Melica californica
CALIFORNIA MELIC

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: MelicaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: ONIONGRASS, MELIC
Habit: Perennial herb, generally cespitose, rhizomed or not, corms present or 0. Stem: generally erect. Leaf: +- basal; sheath closed to near top, glabrous to short-hairy; ligule thin, membranous, tip obtuse to truncate, generally jagged; blade flat, veins inconspicuous. Inflorescence: raceme- or panicle-like, generally appressed to main axis. Spikelet: glumes papery, translucent, back rounded, tip rounded, lower glume 3--5-veined, upper 1--3-veined; axis generally breaking above glumes; lower florets bisexual, 1--7, uppermost florets sterile, +- densely clustered at axis tip; lemma +- like glumes, prominently 5--7-veined, veins not converging, base occasionally red; palea < lemma. Chromosomes: n=9 in all California taxa.
Species In Genus: +- 80 species: generally temperate, except Australia. Etymology: (Latin: honey, or old Italian name for plant with sweet sap)
eFlora Treatment Author: Susan J. Bainbridge

Melica californica Scribn.
NATIVE
Stem: 4--14 dm; lowest internodes +- swollen; corm generally 0. Leaf: ligule 1.5--4 mm, blade 1.5--5 mm wide. Inflorescence: 4--34 cm; branches appressed; spikelets 4--15 per branch. Spikelet: 5--15 mm; glumes 3.5--13 mm, subequal, persistent; bisexual florets 2--5; lemma 5--9 mm, glabrous or scabrous, tip obtuse to weakly acute; palea +- 7/8 lemma; sterile cluster 1--3 mm, truncate (acute), not resembling floret.
Ecology: Open or rocky hillsides, oak woodland, conifer forest; Elevation: < 2200 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, GV, CW, WTR, PR; Distribution Outside California: Oregon. Flowering Time: Apr--May
Unabridged Note: If recognized taxonomically: plants with glumes < spikelet, glume tips obtuse assignable to Melica californica var. californica; plants with glumes +- = spikelet, glume tips acute assignable to Melica californica var. nevadensis Boyle.
eFlora Treatment Author: Susan J. Bainbridge
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Citation for this treatment: Susan J. Bainbridge 2016. Melica californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=33075, accessed on April 30, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on April 30, 2016.


Melica californica
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Melica californica
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© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Melica californica
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© 2015 Julie Kierstead Nelson
Melica californica
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© 2011 Barry Breckling
Melica californica
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Melica californica
click for enlargement
© 2015 Julie Kierstead Nelson

More photos of Melica californica in CalPhotos


Geographic subdivisions for Melica californica:
NW, CaR, SN, GV, CW, WTR, PR;
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.