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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

Annual, perennial herb
Stems solitary to loosely clumped, ascending to erect
Leaves basal and cauline; appendages acute; ligules membranous, obtuse to truncate; blade flat to folded
Inflorescence spike-like (sometimes panicle-like)
Spikelets generally 2-ranked, ± laterally compressed, narrow edge facing inflorescence axis, sessile; glume 1, on outside edge of spikelet, > lower floret, 3–9-veined; florets 5–20, bisexual, breaking above glume and between florets; lemma ± membranous, rounded on back, awnless to awned at acute to obtuse tip, 5-veined; palea ± = lemma
Species in genus: 8 species: Eurasia
Etymology: (Latin: ancient common name for ryegrass)
Reference: [Terrell 1966 Bot Rev 32:138–164]


L. multiflorum Lam.


Annual, biennial
Stems ascending to erect, 4–8 dm, generally glabrous
Leaf: ligule 1–3 mm; blade 5–20 cm, 3–7 mm wide, rolled in bud
Inflorescence 10–30 cm, spike-like
Spikelet 10–15 mm; glume < rest of spikelet, 5–9 mm, linear-lanceolate, lemmas 5–7 mm, ± lanceolate, awn 1–8 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Disturbed sites, abandoned fields
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, e N.America; native to Europe
Hybridizes with L. perenne. Plants with inflorescence axis flattened and angled are L. rigidum Gaudin
Synonyms: L. strictum C. Presl
, reported from GV.

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