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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 54. 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 8/4/2009)


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28. Phalaris L. (canary grass)

(Anderson, 1961; Baldini, 1995)

Plants annual or perennial, forming tufts, clumps, or colonies. Flowering stems erect or ascending, sometimes from spreading bases, glabrous. Leaf sheaths rounded on the back, glabrous or roughened. Leaf blades flat, glabrous or roughened along the margins and on the upper surface. Inflorescences dense, narrow panicles, in most species appearing as dense, ovoid to nearly cylindrical spikes, the branches erect or strongly ascending, but not fused with the main axis, often short and not apparent at flowering time without dissecting the inflorescence. Spikelets strongly flattened laterally, disarticulating above the glumes, with 3 florets, the uppermost perfect and the lower 2 sterile (0 or only 1 sterile floret elsewhere). Glumes longer than the rest of the spikelet, similar in size and shape, elliptic or narrowly ovate, sharply pointed at the tip, awnless, strongly keeled and usually 3‑nerved, glabrous, roughened, or hairy, the midnerve (keel) slightly to strongly winged (except in P. arundinacea). Sterile florets sometimes inconspicuous, the lemmas much shorter and narrower than those of the fertile floret. Lemma of the fertile floret elliptic to ovate, sharply pointed at the tip, awnless, faintly 5‑nerved, glabrous or more commonly hairy, becoming shiny at maturity. Paleas about as long as the lemmas, faintly 1‑ or 2‑nerved. Stamens 3. Fifteen to 22 species, nearly worldwide, mostly in temperate regions.


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1 Plants perennial, with long, scaly rhizomes, forming large clumps or colonies; inflorescences 7–30 cm long, dense, but usually interrupted and noticeably branched panicles 1 Phalaris arundinacea
+ Plants annual, without rhizomes, forming tufts; inflorescences appearing as dense, ovoid to nearly cylindrical, uninterrupted spikes, the branches very short and inconspicuous (2)
2 (1) Sterile lemmas 0.6–1.2 mm long, swollen and somewhat fleshy 2 Phalaris brachystachys
+ Sterile lemmas 1.5–4.5 mm long, membranous to papery, not swollen or fleshy (3)
3 (2) Sterile lemmas 2.5–4.5 mm long, lanceolate; glumes with the midnerve (keel) relatively broadly winged toward the tip, the wing up to 1 mm wide at its broadest point 3 Phalaris canariensis
+ Sterile lemmas 1.5–2.5 mm long, linear; glumes with the midnerve (keel) narrowly winged toward the tip, the wing up to 0.5 mm wide at its broadest point 4 Phalaris caroliniana
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