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.


Annual, perennial herb
Stems generally erect
Leaf: ligule generally membranous, toothed; blade flat
Inflorescence generally panicle-like; branches spreading to erect; spikelets sessile to stalked
Spikelet bisexual, compressed; glumes ± equal to unequal, < to > florets, generally ovate; axis breaking above glumes, falling as 1 unit; florets 3, lower 2 sterile, palea 0, upper floret fertile, palea present; lemmas membranous, becoming hard, short-awned or not; palea 2(3–5)-veined or not; stamens 1–4 or 6
Species in genus: ± 35 species: s Africa, New Zealand
Etymology: (J. Friedrich Ehrhart, German botanist, student of Linnaeus, 1742–1795)
Reference: [Gibbs Russell & Ellis 1987 Bothalia 17:51–65]


E. calycina Sm.


Stems 3–7.5 dm
Leaf: blade 7–20 cm, 2–7 mm wide
Inflorescence 10–15 cm, ± open; spikelets subsessile to stalked, stalk < 5 mm, ± thread-like
Spikelet 5–8 mm; glumes 5–7 mm, ± equal, > sterile florets, becoming purplish; sterile lemmas awned or pointed, soft-hairy; fertile lemma awnless, veins hairy
Chromosomes: 2n=24
Ecology: Sandy soils
Elevation: < 200 m.
Bioregional distribution: n Central Coast (Bodega Bay), Outer South Coast Ranges (Nipomo Mesa), Western Transverse Ranges (Casitas Pass), expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: native to s Africa
Cult for forage, erosion control.

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