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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 1048. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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1. Holcus lanatus L. (common velvet grass)

Pl. 134 g–i; Map 543

Notholcus lanatus Nash ex Hitchc.

Plants perennial, with rhizomes lacking, forming tufts or small clumps, the herbage densely soft‑hairy, velvety to the touch, light green. Flowering stems 35–150 cm long, erect, sometimes from spreading bases. Leaf sheaths rounded on the back, the ligule 1.5–4.5 mm long, with an uneven, minutely hairy margin. Leaf blades 4–45 cm long, 4–12 mm wide, flat. Inflorescences 5–20 cm long, usually relatively dense panicles with strongly to loosely ascending branches, erect or nearly so. Spikelets 3.5–5.5 mm long, slightly flattened laterally, disarticulating below the glumes, with 2 florets, the lowermost perfect and awnless, the uppermost staminate and awned. Glumes 3.2–5.5 mm long, longer than the rest of the spikelet, keeled, sharply pointed or minutely awned at the tip, softly hairy, sometimes only along the midnerve, the lower glume lanceolate and 1‑nerved, the upper glume ovate and 3‑nerved. Lemmas 1.7–2.5 mm long, ovate to oblong‑elliptic, rounded to bluntly pointed at the tip and sometimes with 2 minute teeth, rounded on the back, nerveless, glabrous or nearly so, shiny, the lemma of the uppermost floret with an awn 1–2 mm long, this curled or hooked at the tip. Palea slightly shorter than the lemma, membranous, 2‑nerved. Stamens 3, the anthers 1.5–2.5 mm long. Fruits 1.5–2.0 mm long, elliptic in outline, yellow. 2n=14. May–July.

Introduced, uncommon, mostly in eastern Missouri (native of Europe, widely but sporadically introduced in the U.S. and Canada). Edges of glades and mesic to dry upland forests, banks of streams and rivers, and margins of ponds; also levees, pastures, old fields, railroads, and disturbed, grassy areas.

This species sometimes is planted for forage in the southern United States. Where abundant, it can be an important cause of hay fever.



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