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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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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.



J. Travis Columbus

Annual, perennial herb, generally cespitose
Stem solid, generally glabrous
Leaves generally basal; ligule generally < 1 mm, generally hairy; blade flat to inrolled, upper surface generally ± short-hairy, often ciliate near ligule, hairs long, bulbous-based
Inflorescence generally panicle-like; branches spike-like, 1 per node, persistent or deciduous in fruit; spikelets 2-rowed on 1 side of axis, overlapping
Spikelet sessile or short-stalked, ± cylindric to laterally compressed; glumes generally unequal, generally lanceolate, 1-veined, upper glume firmer than lower; axis (if inflorescence branch persistent) breaking between glumes and lower floret; florets generally 2–3, lower floret bisexual, > upper, upper florets generally vestigial, sterile; lemmas 3-veined, generally 3-awned, awns straight, scabrous; palea ± = lemma
Species in genus: ± 40 species: Am
Etymology: (Claudio (born 1774) and Esteban (born 1776) Boutelou, Spanish botanists, horticulturists)
Reference: [Gould 1979 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 66:348–416]
Many species important for forage.


B. curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.


Perennial, sometimes rhizomed
Stem generally erect, 2–9 dm
Leaf: blade < 25 cm, < 4 mm wide
Inflorescence: branches 13–60, 5–20 mm, generally pendent, deciduous in fruit; branch axis slightly exceeding terminal spikelet node, base puberulent; spikelets 1–13 per branch, ascending to appressed, falling with branch
Spikelet: upper glume 3–10 mm, glabrous or scabrous, acute or awned < 0.5 mm; florets 1–2; lower floret lemma < to ± = upper glume, glabrous or sparsely hairy, lobes 0, awns 2, < 2 mm; base of upper floret (if present) glabrous, tip 2-lobed, central awn from sinus, < 6 mm, lateral awns < 4 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=20,28,35,40–103
Ecology: Dry, rocky slopes, crevices, sandy to rocky drainages, scrub, woodland
Elevation: < 1900 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sacramento Valley (Yolo Co. as roadside waif), Peninsular Ranges (Santa Rosa, Cuyamaca mtns), e&s Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to s Canada, e US, S.America
Flowering time: May–Aug
Plants with erect stems and rhizomes 0 have been called var. caespitosa Gould & Kapadia
Horticultural information: DRN, SUN: 2, 3, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 24 &IRR: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; also STBL.

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