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Vascular Plants of California
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Chloris virgata

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: ChlorisView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, cespitose, rhizomatous or stoloniferous. Stem: decumbent to erect, 1--7 dm. Leaf: ligule membranous or hairy-tufted; blade generally 10--50 cm, 0.2--1.5 cm wide, flat. Inflorescence: generally digitate; branches 2--30, sometimes in distinct whorls, each raceme- or spike-like branch with 2 rows of overlapping spikelets on 1 side of axis. Spikelet: laterally compressed; glumes unequal, < florets, 1--3-veined; axis breaking above glumes; lower florets fertile, 1--2, upper florets sterile or staminate, 1--4, < 1/2 lower floret length; fertile floret lemma ovate to lanceolate, back glabrous, midvein hairy, 3-veined, awn 1; palea < lemma, translucent, obscure; anthers 3. Fruit: +- fusiform, 3-angled.
Etymology: (Greek: goddess of flowers)
eFlora Treatment Author: Rosa Cerros-Tlatilpa
Unabridged Reference: Anderson 1974 Brigham Young Univ Sci Bull Biol Ser 19:1--133; Barkworth 2003 FNANM 25:204--218
Chloris virgata Sw.
Habit: Annual. Stem: generally 1--7 dm. Leaf: sheath glabrous to hairy near collar; ligule glabrous to hairy; blade < 30 cm, 1.5 cm wide. Inflorescence: digitate; branches 4--20, +- erect, 5--10 cm. Spikelet: 1.5--4.5 mm; glumes acute, lower 1.5--3 mm, 0.2--0.5 mm wide, upper 2.5--4.5 mm, 0.3--0.5 mm wide; fertile floret 1, 2.5--4 mm, 0.5--1.5 mm wide, ovate, obovate, or elliptic, keel hairy near tip, margin generally hairy-tufted, awn 2.5--15 mm; sterile floret 1, 1.5--3 mm, awn 3--10 mm. Fruit: 1.5--2 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=20,26,30,40.
Ecology: Disturbed areas; Elevation: < 200 m. Bioregional Distribution: GV, SCoRO, SCo, PR, D; Distribution Outside California: to southern Great Plains, southeastern United States, northern Mexico; native to warm temperate regions worldwide. Flowering Time: Apr--Sep
Jepson eFlora Author: Rosa Cerros-Tlatilpa
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Chloris virgata

botanical illustration including Chloris virgata

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Citation for this treatment: Rosa Cerros-Tlatilpa 2012, Chloris virgata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 13, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 13, 2024.

Chloris virgata
click for enlargement
©2016 Keir Morse
Chloris virgata
click for enlargement
©2005 Steve Matson
Chloris virgata
click for enlargement
©2016 Keir Morse
Chloris virgata
click for enlargement
©2016 Keir Morse
Chloris virgata
click for enlargement
©2005 Steve Matson

More photos of Chloris virgata
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Chloris virgata:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
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).