Saccharum ravennae (L.) L.
Family: Poaceae
Saccharum ravennae image

Plants cespitose. Culms 2-4 m, glabrous; nodes glabrous. Sheaths glabrous; auricles absent; ligules 0.6-1.1 mm; blades 50-100 cm long, 5-14 mm wide, glabrous. Peduncles 40-80 cm, glabrous; panicles lanceolate; rachises 30-70 cm, glabrous; primary branches 6-20 cm, appressed or spreading; rame internodes 1-2 mm, with hairs. Sessile spikelets 4-6 mm long, 0.7-0.9 mm wide, straw-colored. Callus hairs 4-6 mm, subequal to the spikelets, white; lower glumes smooth, 4-5-veined; upper glumes 3-veined; lower lemmas 3-5 mm, 1-veined; upper lemmas subequal to the lower lemmas, without veins, entire; awns 2-5 mm, flat, straight or curved at the base; lodicule veins not extending into hairlike projections; anthers 3. Pedicels 1-3 mm, pubescent. Pedicellate spikelets similar to the sessile spikelets. 2n = 20.

Saccharum ravennae is native to southern Europe and western Asia. It is grown as an ornamental in the Flora region, occasionally escaping and persisting.

Perennial tufted herb 2 - 4.4 m tall Leaves: borne along the stem, with hairless sheaths and ligules that are 0.6 - 1.1 mm long, membranous, and lined with hairs along the margins. The blades are 0.5 - 1 m long, 5 - 14 mm wide, flat, and hairless. Inflorescence: terminal, branched (panicle), large, with many pairs of one stalked and one stalkless spikelet and terminating in a trio of one stalkless and two stalked spikelets. Fruit: a caryopsis. Culm: 2 - 4 m long, hairless throughout. Spikelets: either stalkless or stalked. The stalkless spikelets are straw-colored, 4 - 6 mm long, and 0.7 - 0.9 mm wide, while the similar stalked spikelets are a little shorter than or as long as the stalkless spikelets. Glumes: nearly equal, with two longitudinal ridges. The lower glume is smooth with four or five veins, and the upper glume has three veins. Lower florets: sterile, with lemmas that are 3 - 5 mm long, single-veined, and terminate in flat awns 2 - 5 mm long, and paleas that are are rudimentary or absent. Upper florets: bisexual, with three anthers and lemmas that are similar to the lower lemmas but lack veins.

Similar species: No information at this time.

Flowering: August to October

Habitat and ecology: Introduced from southern Europe, this species grows along a highway in Berrien County and may be an escape from cultivation.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Etymology: Saccharum comes from the Greek word saccharon, "a sweet juice." Ravennae means "from Ravenna, Italy."

Author: The Morton Arboretum

Common Name: ravennagrass Duration: Perennial Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Graminoid Synonyms: Erianthus ravennae, Erianthus ravennae var. purpurescens