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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 83. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: A genus of 8-12 species in temperate Europe and Asia; widely introduced elsewhere; 5 species occur in Pakistan.
Comment/Acknowledgements: The taxonomy of the genus is confused by the relative ease with which the species will hybridise and introgress. Some of the species will also hybridise freely with certain species of Festuca (none of these hybrids, x Festulolium spp, have been reported from Pakistan to date), and this has sometimes been considered an indication that the two genera should be united. Variation within individual species is such that no key can be constructed that will place every specimen correctly, and indeed some plants are bound to remain of uncertain affinity (particularly if the specimens are incomplete or immature). Lolium rigidum Gaud. var. duthiei Hack. ex Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 7:364. 1896 is such a plant. Terrell (l.c.) states that at present it is impossible to tell whether it is a form of Lolium rigidum or Lolium temulentum, since it has the rigid spike of the former but the awned lemmas of the latter.


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Annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades flat or rolled, often auriculate. Inflorescence a stiff 2-sided spike, the spikelets alternate in opposite rows with one edge sunk in hollows in the continuous axis. Spikelets 3-12(-22)-flowered, the uppermost floret reduced, the lower (adaxial) glume suppressed in all except the terminal spikelet and there similar to the upper; upper glume persistent, external, linear to oblong, 5-9-nerved, becoming hardened; lemmas rounded on the back, 5-9-nerved, awnless or with a straight awn from near the tip; palea as long or nearly as long as the lemma.

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1.Lemma elliptical to ovate, very turgid at maturity, especially towards the base; mature caryopsis not more than 3 times as long as wide
Lolium temulentum
1.Lemma oblong to lanceolate, not turgid at maturity; mature caryopsis more than three times as long as wide
2.Perennial with non-flowering shoots at anthesis; spikelets 2-10(-14)-flowered; leaf-blades flat or folded when young
Lolium perenne
2.Annual without non-flowering shoots at anthesis, or if biennial or perennial then spikelets 11-22-flowered; leaf-blades convolute when young
3.Spikelets usually 11-22-flowered, rarely less
Lolium multiflorum
3.Spikelets 3-11-flowered
4.Rhachis rigid, slender to very thick; lower lemmas 3.2-8.5(-105)mm long, usually awnless but sometimes with short awns up to 10 mm long
Lolium rigidum
4.Rhachis rigid or flexuous, slender to somewhat thickened; lower lemmas 8-12 mm long, always awned with awns up to 18 mm long
Lolium persicum
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