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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.



Michael Curto

Annual, perennial herb
Stems generally ascending to erect, 2–20 dm, generally tufted, ± solid in X -section
Leaves generally basal; cauline few, ascending or curving away; distal sheath margin and collar glabrous or hairy; ligule < 1 mm, hairy or membranous, fringed; blade flat to inrolled, generally glabrous or scabrous, sometimes short-soft-hairy
Inflorescence terminal, also sometimes axillary, panicle- or spike-like, generally partly enclosed by sheath; branches spreading or appressed
Spikelet < 6 mm, generally pale to gray-green or purplish; glumes generally unequal, upper < or > lemma, membranous to translucent, 1-veined; floret bisexual, generally breaking above glumes; lemma texture generally like glumes, 1(3)-veined; palea < or > lemma
Fruit 1–3 mm, generally falling from floret, generally gelatinous when wet
Species in genus: ± 150 species: Am, Eurasia, Africa
Etymology: (Greek: to throw seed, from deciduous seeds)


S. airoides (Torr.) Torr.


Stems tufted, 3–20 dm
Leaf: distal sheath margin glabrous to short-hairy; collar margin glabrous or sparsely long-hairy; ligule < 0.5 mm, fringed; blade 12–40 cm, 2–4(6) mm wide
Inflorescence generally terminal, 1–6 dm; base 4–25 cm wide, panicle-like, pyramid-shaped, open to dense; branches ascending to spreading, lowest generally > 6 cm, 2° generally evident, spreading
Spikelet 1–3 mm; glume, lemma backs rounded; base purplish; glumes unequal, narrowly lanceolate, tip acute to obtuse, lower 0.5–2 mm, upper > 0.5 X lemma; lemma 2–3 mm, ovate to narrowly lanceolate; palea ± = lemma; anthers 1–1.8 mm
Fruit ± 1 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=80,90,108,126
Ecology: Seasonally moist, alkaline areas
Elevation: < 2100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Sierra Nevada Foothills, Tehachapi Mountain Area, s Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, s Outer South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert
Distribution outside California: to e Washington, c&s US, Mexico
Flowering time: Apr–Oct
Plants from s SCo, s PR, s DSon with stems 1–2 m, inflorescence base 12–25 cm wide, 1° branches ascending, 2° and 3° branches appressed, spikelets dense have been called var. wrightii (Scribner) Gould
Horticultural information: SUN, IRR: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; also STBL.

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