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.
Common Name: NEEDLE GRASS
Habit: Generally perennial herb, tufted or occasionally rhizomatous. Stem: generally erect, generally unbranched at distal nodes, persistent or not. Leaf: basal or cauline, sheaths open, auricles 0, ligules scarious to membranous, generally ciliate, blade flat to inrolled. Inflorescence: generally panicle-like, generally narrow. Spikelet: generally 1-flowered; glumes generally > floret except awn, membranous, flexible, veins 1--10, awns 0; floret 1(6), generally round (compressed) in ×-section; axis breaking between glumes and floret; callus blunt to sharp, glabrous to hairy; lemma membranous to leathery or hardened, glabrous to hairy, obscurely 3--7-veined, margins overlapping or not, tip entire to 2-lobed or forked, occasionally fused into a crown, 1-awned at or near tip (mucronate), awn (0)3--225(300) mm, unbranched, straight to bent or curled, twisted or not, persistent or not; palea < to > lemma, generally flat, glabrous to hairy, veins (0)2(3). Fruit: ovoid to fusiform, beak 0.
Species In Genus: +- 600 species: temperate, tropics, generally +- arid, +- worldwide; many species valuable cattle forage, cordage, some weedy. Etymology: (Greek: stupe or stuppeion, for fiber or cordage, referring to plumose awns of Eurasian species or fibers from especially Stipa tenacissima L.) Note: Floret, lemma lengths and shapes in key and text exclude awn. Many related and some poorly defined genera placed here in a broadly treated genus. Hybrids not rare. 4 waifs in California, Stipa caudata Trin. [Amelichloa caudata (Trin.) Arriaga & Barkworth], Stipa clandestina Hack. [Amelichloa clandestina (Hack.) Arriaga & Barkworth], Stipa plumosa Trin. [Jarava plumosa (Spreng.) S.W.L. Jacobs & J. Everett], Stipa tenuissima Trin. [Nassella tenuissima (Trin.) Barkworth] . Stipa viridula Trin. [Nassella viridula (Trin.) Barkworth], possibly in California but records unclear.
eFlora Treatment Author: J. Travis Columbus, James P. Smith, Jr. & Douglas H. Goldman