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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.


Mary E. Barkworth

Perennial, sometimes from rhizomes
Stem generally bent at base or erect, generally tufted
Leaf: sheath appendaged, appendages sometimes small, fragile; ligule membranous, truncate to obtuse; blades flat, folded, or rolled
Inflorescence spike-like, open to dense; axis generally not breaking apart in fruit; spikelets ± 2-ranked or not, 1–4 per node, generally ascending
Spikelet: glumes lanceolate to awl-like, sometimes 0, awned from tip or not; florets 1–7; lemma generally > glumes, generally rounded, tip acute to awned, awn straight or curved outward; anthers 1–6 mm
Species in genus: 150 species: temp worldwide
Etymology: (Greek: ancient name for millet)
Reference: [Barkworth & Dewey 1985 Amer J Bot 72:767–776; Wilson 1963 Brittonia 15:303–323]
See Agropyron, Elytrigia, Leymus, Pseudoroegneria for species sometimes treated here. Some species hybridize; hybrids with Hordeum, Leymus, Pseudoroegneria also occur.


E. multisetus (J.G. Sm.) Burtt Davy


Stem 1.5–6 dm
Leaf: sheath glabrous, appendages generally 0.5–1.5 mm; blade 1.5–5 mm wide, flat or rolled
Inflorescence 3–17 cm (except awns), breaking apart with age; internodes 4–8 mm; spikelets generally 2 per node
Spikelet 8–11 mm; glumes divided near base into 3–5 awns, 25–200 mm, distal half curving outward with age; lowest florets like glumes, vestigial; lemma 8–10 mm, tip generally 2-lobed, lobes awn-like, < 20 mm, awn between lobes 25–100 mm; anthers 1–2 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=28
Ecology: Open, sandy to rocky areas
Elevation: < 3200 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Rocky Mtns
Flowering time: May–Jul
Synonyms: Sitanion jubatum J.G. Sm
Hybrids with Pseudoroegneria spicata have been called Agropyron saxicola (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) Piper. Hybrids with E. trachycaulus have been called Agropyron saundersii (Vasey) Hitchc. or E. aristatus Merr. Hybrids with E. glaucus have been called Sitanion hansenii (Scribner) J.G. Sm. (see also E. elymoides).
Horticultural information: SUN, DRN: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; also STBL; may be INV.

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