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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.


Perennial, ± tufted
Stems generally erect
Leaf: ligule fringed or short-hairy; blade flat or inrolled
Inflorescence panicle-like, open to dense, or spike-like
Spikelet ± compressed; glumes ± equal, membranous, lower 1-veined, upper 1–3(5)-veined; axis breaking above glumes and between florets; lemma wide, thin, back rounded, veins hairy below middle, 3-veined, tip notched or 2-toothed, generally short-pointed; palea generally < lemma, glabrous or minutely hairy
Species in genus: 18 species: North America
Etymology: (Latin: 3-toothed, from lemma tip)
Reference: [Tateoka 1961 Amer J Bot 48:565–573]


T. muticus (Torr.) Nash


Plant densely tufted
Stem 2–5 dm
Leaf: sheath hairy, especially near collar; ligule short-hairy; blade 3–25 cm, 1–3 mm wide, generally inrolled, ± fine scabrous, sometimes sparsely hairy
Inflorescence 4–20 cm, 3–8 mm wide, narrow; branches short, appressed; spikelets subsessile to short-stalked
Spikelet 8–11 mm, ± cylindric; glumes 5–6 mm, 1-veined; florets 6–8, strongly overlapping, pale to light purple; callus densely hairy; lemma ± 5 mm, veins densely hairy below middle, tip entire to minutely notched; palea keels densely hairy
Chromosomes: 2n=40
Ecology: Dry, rocky, generally limestone soils, creosote-bush scrub, pinyon/juniper woodland
Elevation: 900–2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: East of Sierra Nevada, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to Colorado, Texas, Mexico
Flowering time: Apr–May, Oct–Nov
Horticultural information: DRN, SUN: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

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