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Vascular Plants of California
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Koeleria macrantha

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: KoeleriaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: erect. Leaf: basal to cauline; ligule membranous, glabrous to minutely ciliate, toothed at obtuse to truncate tip; blade narrow, flat to inrolled. Inflorescence: panicle-like, generally compact, narrow, or wider in full flower. Spikelet: laterally compressed; glumes unequal, upper > and wider than lower, keeled, acute, lower 1-veined, upper faintly 3--5-veined; axis prolonged beyond fertile floret, bristly (occasionally with vestigial floret at tip); florets 2--5, bisexual, breaking above glumes and between florets; lower lemmas generally > glumes, awned or not, 5-veined; palea +- < lemma, tip minutely 2-forked.
Species In Genus: +- 30 species: temperate North America, Eurasia. Etymology: (G.L. Koeler, German botanist, 1765--1807)
eFlora Treatment Author: Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Standley 2007 FNANM 24:753--756
Unabridged Reference: Arnow 1994 Syst Bot 19:6--20; Shinners 1956 Rhodora 58:93--96
Koeleria macrantha (Ledeb.) Schult.
Habit: Cespitose. Stem: 2--8(10+) dm, glabrous to puberulent. Leaf: generally basal, tufted, glabrous to puberulent; ligule 1--2 mm; blade 2--20 cm, 1--2(3) mm wide, generally ridged. Inflorescence: 2--15 cm, 1--2 cm wide, cylindric to narrowly conic, or wider in full flower, interrupted at base. Spikelet: 4--6 mm, +- shiny, tan (occasionally +- purple); florets 2--4; lower glume +- 3 mm, upper +- 5 mm; lemma 3--5 mm, acute to small-pointed at tip. Chromosomes: 2n=14.
Ecology: Dry, open sites, clay to rocky soils, shrubland, woodland, conifer forest; Elevation: < 3840 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, ScV (Sutter Buttes), CW, TR, PR, GB, DMtns; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, eastern Canada, central and eastern United States, northern Mexico, Eurasia. Flowering Time: May--Jul
Synonyms: Koeleria cristata Pers., superfl., in part; Koeleria cristata var. longifolia Burtt Davy; Koeleria gracilis Pers., illeg.; Koeleria nitida Nutt.; Koeleria pyramidata (Lam.) P. Beauv., misappl.
Jepson eFlora Author: Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Standley 2007 FNANM 24:753--756
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Koeleria macrantha

botanical illustration including Koeleria macrantha


Citation for this treatment: Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Koeleria macrantha, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 11, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 11, 2021.

Koeleria macrantha
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Koeleria macrantha
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Koeleria macrantha
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© 2015 Steve Matson
Koeleria macrantha
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© 2015 Steve Matson
Koeleria macrantha
click for enlargement
© 2012 Steve Matson
Koeleria macrantha
click for enlargement
© 2015 Steve Matson

More photos of Koeleria macrantha in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Koeleria macrantha:
NW, CaR, SN, ScV (Sutter Buttes), CW, TR, PR, GB, DMtns
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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).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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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).