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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. hordeaceus L.

Annual 11–65 cm
Leaf generally soft-hairy; blade 1.5–5 mm wide
Inflorescence 2.5–13 cm, generally ± dense; branches ascending to erect; spikelet > stalk
Spikelet ± compressed, glabrous to short-soft-hairy; lower glume 5–8 mm, generally 3-veined, upper glume 6–9 mm, 5–7-veined; florets 5–10; lemma 6.5–10 mm, back rounded, 5–7-veined, teeth 0.5–1.5 mm, awn 4–10 mm; palea generally < lemma; anthers generally < 3 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=14,28
Ecology: Open, often disturbed places
Elevation: < 1000(2100) m.
Bioregional distribution: California (uncommon Desert)
Distribution outside California: America; native to Eurasia
Flowering time: Apr–Jul
Synonyms: B. mollis L., B. racemosus L., & B. scoparius L. misapplied
Plants with awn outcurved in fruit, ± flat near base, have been called subsp. molliformis (Godr.) Maire [B. molliformis Godr.]; plants with anthers 3–5 mm have been called B. arvensis L.

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