Lolium pratense (Huds.) S.J. Darbyshire
Family: Poaceae
Lolium pratense image
Max Licher  
FNA 2007, Gould 1980
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Tufted perennial with stems to 1.3 m, auricles glabrous, falcate and clasping, wavy along edges, sheath open. Vegetative: Blades folded or convolute in young shoots, 10-25 cm long, 2-7 mm wide, flat, ligules a minute membranous collar. Inflorescence: Panicle 10-25 cm with branches at lowest node 1 or 2, shorter branch with 1-2 spikelets, longer branches with 2-6 spikelets; spikelets 12-15.5 mm long, 2-5 mm wide with 4-10 florets; disarticulation above the glumes, glumes unequal, lower 2.5-4.5 mm, upper 3-5 mm; lemmas 5-8 mm, smooth, apices unawned, sometimes mucronate. Ecology: Found in open meadows and disturbed areas from 4,000-8,000 ft (1219-2438 m); flowers April-August. Distribution: Introduced throughout N. Amer. found in every state in the US; south to c MEX; also in S. Amer. and Europe. Notes: Distinguished by being a robust perennial bunchgrass with pronounced, glabrous auricles (top section of leaf sheath wrapping around the culm), where they are ciliate in Lolium arundinaceum; flat, wide leaves; a semi-open panicle of spikelets with multiple florets, possessing smooth lemmas. This taxa has some remaining lack of clear resolution between Lolium pratense, Festuca pratensis, and Schedonorus pratensis, but follows the Darbyshire 1993 treatment. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: From Latin lolium for cockle, also the classical name for rye, while pratensis means growing in meadows. Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015
Tufted, but often with basally decumbent culms; old sheaths brown, decaying to fibers, culms erect above a geniculate base, 3-12 dm, glabrous; sheaths smooth; blades lax, not evidently ridge-veined, glabrous or scabrous, 3-5(-7) mm wide, dilated at base into conspicuous smooth auricles; infl 1-2.5 dm, erect or nodding at the tip, contracted at least after anthesis, the internodes of the branches less than twice as long as the spikelets; spikelets 10-15 mm, 4-10-fld; first glume subulate, 2.5-4 mm, 1-veined, the second lanceolate, 3.5-5 mm, 3-5-veined, with hyaline margins; larger lemmas 5.5-7 mm, usually glabrous, 5-veined, the tip hyaline, acute, rarely with a short awn to 2 mm; rachilla-joints glossy, smooth or very nearly so; anthers 2-4 mm; 2n mostly = 14. Native of Europe, cult. for forage and established in fields, meadows, and moist soil throughout most of the U.S. and adj. Can. (Schedonorus p.)

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

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