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.


Robert Webster

Annual, sometimes perennial herb
Stems decumbent to erect; internode spongy inside
Leaves basal and cauline; sheath generally glabrous; ligule generally 0; blade generally flat, upper surface generally glabrous
Inflorescence panicle-like, ± dense; branches generally ascending to appressed, axis generally glabrous; spikelets generally many, 1–2 per node, short-stalked to subsessile, ± on 1 side of axis
Spikelet falling as one unit, ovoid to compressed; glumes unequal, lower < upper, short-bristly to hairy, generally green to purplish, upper glume generally awned; florets 2, lower floret sterile or staminate, lemma generally like glumes, upper floret fertile, lemma leathery or hard, shiny to dull, margin inrolled, tip abruptly pointed, palea free from lemma
Species in genus: ± 35 species: warm temp, subtropical, worldwide
Etymology: (Greek: hedgehog grass, from bristly spikelet)
Reference: [Gould, Ali, & Fairbrothers 1972 Amer Midl Nat 87:36–59]


E. muricata (P. Beauv.) Fernald

Annual, sometimes rooting at lower nodes
Stem erect, 5–10 dm
Leaf: sheath 6–20 cm; blade 7–20 cm, 4–11 mm wide
Inflorescence 6–25 cm; 1° branches 3–6 cm; spikelets 1–2 per node, stalk < 1 mm
Spikelet ± 3–4 mm, ± 1.5–2 mm wide, elliptic; lower glume ± 1 mm, 3–5-veined, upper glume ± = spikelet; lower floret slightly < upper, sterile, lemma 5-veined, acuminate
Ecology: Waste places, often wet sites, fields
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California (especially California Floristic Province)
Distribution outside California: to e US; native to Eurasia

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