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 decumbent to erect, flat, generally ± fleshy
Leaf: sheath compressed, strongly keeled; ligule membranous, ciliate; blade flat or folded
Inflorescence umbel-like; branches 1–16, spike-like, with 2 rows of overlapping spikelets along 1 side of axis; spikelets sessile
Spikelet bisexual, compressed; glumes unequal, lower 1-veined, upper 1–7-veined; axis breaking apart above glumes and between florets; florets 2–15; lemma keeled, acute, 1- or 3-veined, short-awned or not; palea < lemma
Species in genus: 9 species: Africa, 1 sp. in South America
Etymology: (Greek: Eleusis, ancient town)
Reference: [Phillips 1972 Kew Bull 27:251–270]
Cult for grain in Africa, India.


E. tristachya (Lam.) Lam.

Stems ascending, 1–3 dm
Leaf: blade 2–15 cm, 7–15 mm wide
Inflorescence: branches 1–3(4), 1–2.5 cm, 7–15 mm wide
Spikelet 3–4.5 mm; lower glume ± 1.5 mm; upper glume ± 2.5 mm; lemma 3–3.5 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Disturbed areas
Elevation: < 200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Great Central Valley
Distribution outside California: native to Africa

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