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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 Painter

Annual, perennial herb
Stems erect, solitary to densely clumped
Leaves basal to cauline; ligule narrow, decurrent to sheath, glabrous to minutely hairy; blades flat to inrolled
Inflorescence panicle- to spike-like, open to narrow
Spikelet: glumes and lemmas shiny; glumes equal to ± subequal, > lower floret; axis prolonged beyond upper floret, bristly (sometimes with vestigial floret at tip); florets 1–3, bisexual, breaking above glumes and between florets; callus soft-hairy; lemmas rounded, 2–4-toothed at truncate tip, faintly 3–7-veined, awned at or below middle, awn straight to bent; palea ± = lemma
Species in genus: 30–40 species: temp Am, Eurasia, New Zealand, Antarctica
Etymology: (J. L-Deslongchamps, France, born 1774)


D. cespitosa (L.) P. Beauv.


Stems densely clumped, 2–10 dm
Leaves generally basal, tufted, glabrous to scabrous; ligule 3–8 mm, acute to obtuse, entire to toothed at tip; blades generally 8–20 cm, 1–4 mm wide, flat to inrolled
Inflorescence narrow to open; lower branches erect to drooping
Spikelet: glumes and tips of lemmas purplish; glumes 3–7 mm, ± subequal, lanceolate, acute, lower 1-veined, upper 3-veined; florets generally 2; callus hairs generally < 1/3 lemma length; lemmas 2–4 mm, generally 4-toothed at tip, faintly 5-veined, awned below middle, awn 2–6 mm, straight to slightly bent
Chromosomes: 2n=26–28
Ecology: Wet sites, meadows, streambanks, coastal marshes, forests, alpine
Elevation: < 3900 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, Transverse Ranges, Warner Mountains, n East of Sierra Nevada, White and Inyo Mountains
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, e N.America, S.America, Eurasia, New Zealand
Sspp. intergrade.

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