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Vascular Plants of California
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Setaria parviflora

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: SetariaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: generally erect; internode solid to hollow inside. Leaf: basal and cauline; sheath generally glabrous, margins occasionally scabrous or ciliate; ligule short-hairy or membranous, ciliate; blade glabrous, scabrous, or hairy on one or both surfaces. Inflorescence: panicle-like, dense, generally cylindric; 1° branches spreading to appressed; spikelets many, generally clustered on one side of short 2° branches, short-stalked to subsessile, subtended by 1--15 bristles, bristles generally scabrous. Spikelet: falling as 1 unit, generally elliptic; glumes unequal; florets generally 2, +- equal, lower floret sterile or staminate, palea generally < lemma, upper floret fertile, firm, generally hard, rough, margin inrolled, tip blunt.
Etymology: (Latin: bristly) Note: Some species cultivated for food. Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv., millet, common component of birdseed, occasionally collected but not persisting. Setaria megaphylla (Steud.) T. Durand & Schinz, Setaria verticilliformis Dumort. recorded in California from a few sites, but do not appear to be naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Robert Webster
Reference: Rominger 2003 FNANM 25:539--558
Setaria parviflora (Poir.) Kerguélen
Habit: Perennial herb, cespitose, from short rhizomes. Stem: 7--12 dm; base with hard, knot-like swellings. Leaf: sheath 4--9 cm; ligule < 1 mm; blade < 25 cm, 2--8 mm wide, adaxial surface glabrous. Inflorescence: 3--8 cm; 1° branches 3--8 mm; axis glabrous; bristles 4--12; spikelet stalk << 0.5 mm. Spikelet: 2--3 mm, +- 1--1.5 mm wide; lower glume 1--1.5 mm, 3-veined, upper glume 0.5--0.8 × spikelet length; lower floret sterile or staminate; lemma 5--7-veined, tip acute; palea +- = lemma.
Ecology: Moist, disturbed areas, roadsides, streambanks, canal banks; Elevation: < 1470 m. Bioregional Distribution: n SNF, GV, CW (exc SCoRI), SW (exc ChI, SnJt), s DMoj (uncommon); Distribution Outside California: to eastern United States, Central America, South America. Flowering Time: May--Sep
Synonyms: Setaria gracilis Kunth; Setaria geniculata (Hornem. ex Willd.) P. Beauv., misappl.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Robert Webster
Reference: Rominger 2003 FNANM 25:539--558
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Setaria parviflora

botanical illustration including Setaria parviflora

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Robert Webster 2012, Setaria parviflora, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 17, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 17, 2024.

Setaria parviflora
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©2011 Steve Matson
Setaria parviflora
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©2011 Steve Matson
Setaria parviflora
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©2011 Steve Matson
Setaria parviflora
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©2011 Steve Matson
Setaria parviflora
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©2011 Steve Matson

More photos of Setaria parviflora
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Geographic subdivisions for Setaria parviflora:
n SNF, GV, CW (exc SCoRI), SW (exc ChI, SnJt), s DMoj (uncommon)
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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).