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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.



John R. Baird and John W. Thieret

Perennial, generally with rhizomes
Stem erect, unbranched
Leaves basal and cauline; sheath open, > internodes, glabrous, margin of sheath opening sometimes with long, shaggy hairs; ligule a fringe of hairs, 0.5–2 mm; blade flat to inrolled, long tapered, upper surface ridged
Inflorescence panicle-like; each spike-like branch with 2 rows of overlapping spikelets on lower side of axis
Spikelet laterally compressed, sessile, breaking below glumes, falling as 1 unit; glumes firmly membranous, obtuse to acuminate or with a small, sharp point, unequal, upper 1–3(5)-veined, generally > floret, lower 1-veined, < floret; floret 1; lemma 1(3)-veined, acute, awned or not, firmly membranous; palea ± = lemma, 2-veined
Species in genus: 15 species: Am, Eur, Africa
Etymology: (Greek: a cord)
Reference: [Spicher & Josselyn 1985 Madroño 32:158–167]


S. alterniflora Loisel.


Rhizome 4–7 mm wide
Stem thick, solitary or in small clumps, 6–25 dm, 5–14 mm wide at base, fleshy in internodes
Leaf: blade 20–55 cm, 4–25 mm wide at base, flat when fresh or inrolled near tip; ridges on upper surface ± 6 per mm
Inflorescence ± open, 10–40 cm, 7–22 mm wide; branches 5–30, loosely overlapping, loosely appressed or spreading (to 10°–20°), 4.5–13 cm, 3–5 mm wide
Spikelet 8–15 mm; glume and lemma keels glabrous to softly shaggy-hairy; lower glume 4–10 mm; upper glume 8–15 mm; lemma 7.5–11 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=56,70
Ecology: Coastal salt marshes
Elevation: < 10 m.
Bioregional distribution: Central Coast (San Francisco Bay)
Distribution outside California: native to e N.America
Will likely spread unless eradicated.

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