Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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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.



Dieter H. Wilken and Elizabeth L. Painter

Annual to perennial herb
Leaves basal and cauline; sheath closed, generally hairy; ligule generally < 5 mm, membranous, entire to fringed; blade flat to inrolled
Inflorescence generally panicle-like, open to dense; spikelet stalk generally stiff, rigid
Spikelet strongly compressed to cylindric; axis breaking above glumes and between florets; glumes unequal, generally < lower floret, lower generally 1–3-veined, upper 3–7-veined, back rounded to keeled, tip acute; lemmas faintly 5–9-veined, tip generally 2-toothed, short-pointed to straight-awned from between teeth; palea generally < lemma
Species in genus: ± 150 species: temp worldwide
Etymology: (Greek: ancient name)
Reference: [Stebbins 1947 Contr Gray Herb 165:42–55; Wagnon 1952 Brittonia 7:415–480]
Native species need careful study.


B. inermis Leyss. subsp. inermis


Perennial 45–100+ cm, rhizomed
Leaf glabrous to sparsely scabrous; blade 5–12 mm wide, margin ± scabrous
Inflorescence 9–20 cm, ± dense; branches generally ascending to erect
Spikelet ± cylindric, glabrous to minutely scabrous; lower glume 5–9 mm, generally 1-veined; upper glume 6–10 mm, generally 3-veined; florets 5–10; lemma body 8–12 mm, 5–7-veined, back rounded, tip obtuse to minutely lobed, awn 0–2.5 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=28,42,± 56
Ecology: Meadows, ditches, fields
Elevation: < 2700 m.
Bioregional distribution: High Sierra Nevada (e slope), Outer South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Peninsular Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to e US; native to Europe
Flowering time: May–Aug
Cult widely for forage, revegetation after fire. Ssp. pumpellianus (Scribner) Wagnon with puberulent lemmas is native to nw North America, Rocky Mtns.

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