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Vascular Plants of California
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Briza maxima

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; 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; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
Genera In Family: 650--900 genera; +- 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). Note: Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761--770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.
Genus: BrizaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: ascending to erect, 5--100 cm. Leaf: basal to cauline; ligule membranous to translucent; blade flat. Inflorescence: erect to pendent, panicle-like, open. Spikelet: +- pendent, +- laterally compressed, subconic to ovoid; glumes subequal, papery, rounded at tip, 3--9-veined; florets 3--19; axis breaking above glumes and between florets; lemma width > length, papery to translucent, rounded at tip, 7--9-veined; palea +- = lemma.
Etymology: (Greek: a kind of grain) Note: Briza media L., a cultivated perennial herb with ligule < 0.5 mm and spikelets 4--6 mm, best treated as waif in California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Snow 2007 FNANM 24:612--614
Briza maxima L.
Habit: Annual. Stem: 20--80 cm. Leaf: ligule 1--4 mm; blade 1--7 mm wide. Inflorescence: spreading to pendent, 2--10 cm. Spikelet: 1--14 per inflorescence, ovoid, obtuse at base; glumes 4--7 mm, 5--9-veined; florets 12--19; lemma 6--8 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=10,14.
Ecology: Shaded sites, roadsides, pastures, weedy on coastal dunes; Elevation: < 970 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, w CaR, n SN, ScV, CW (exc SCoRI), SCo, WTR, PR (upper San Diego River), ne MP; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, eastern United States; native to southern Europe. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul Note: Cultivated for ornament.
Jepson eFlora Author: Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Snow 2007 FNANM 24:612--614
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Briza maxima
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Botanical illustration including Briza maxima

botanical illustration including Briza maxima

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Citation for this treatment: Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Briza maxima, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Briza maxima
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©2013 Neal Kramer
Briza maxima
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©2009 California Academy of Sciences
Briza maxima
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©2009 Barry Rice
Briza maxima
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©2009 Barry Rice
Briza maxima
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©2006 George W. Hartwell

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Geographic subdivisions for Briza maxima:
NW, w CaR, n SN, ScV, CW (exc SCoRI), SCo, WTR, PR (upper San Diego River), ne MP
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).