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Vascular Plants of California
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Phleum pratense

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: PhleumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: TIMOTHY
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, cespitose or rhizomatous. Stem: ascending to erect. Leaf: basal and cauline; appendages 0 or small, acute to obtuse; ligule membranous to translucent, obtuse to truncate; blade generally flat, margin minutely scabrous. Inflorescence: panicle-like, cylindric to ovoid, dense; branches spike-like, short. Spikelet: +- sessile, strongly laterally compressed; glumes +- equal, membranous, keel generally stiff-ciliate (comb-like), pointed to awned at obtuse to truncate tip, 3-veined; floret 1, breaking above glumes, bisexual; lemma generally awnless at wide, truncate tip, 3--7-veined; palea +- = lemma.
Species In Genus: 15 species: temperate America, Eurasia. Etymology: (Greek: a marsh reed)
eFlora Treatment Author: Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Barkworth 2007 FNANM 24:670--675; Humphries 1978 Bot J Linn Soc 76:337--340
Phleum pratense L.
Habit: Perennial herb, loosely to densely cespitose. Stem: 1 to loosely clumped, 5--10 dm; base generally swollen. Leaf: basal few, generally spreading; cauline blade 4--20 cm, 3--6 mm wide. Inflorescence: 5--8 mm wide. Spikelet: glumes 2--3 mm, lower 1/2 scabrous on back; lemma 1--2.5 mm, veins puberulent. Chromosomes: 2n=14,28,42.
Ecology: Disturbed sites, roadsides, cultivated fields; Elevation: < 2750 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, GB; Distribution Outside California: North America, Mexico; native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: May--Jun Note: Widely cultivated for forage, hay; depauperate plants not easily distinguished from Phleum alpinum.
Jepson eFlora Author: Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Barkworth 2007 FNANM 24:670--675; Humphries 1978 Bot J Linn Soc 76:337--340
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Phleum pratense, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 14, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 14, 2022.

Phleum pratense
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© 2002 Steve Matson
Phleum pratense
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Phleum pratense
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Phleum pratense
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Phleum pratense
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Phleum pratense
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse

More photos of Phleum pratense in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Phleum pratense:
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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).