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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 61. 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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17. Agrostis L. (bent grass)

Plants annual or perennial, sometimes with rhizomes or stolons, forming dense to loose tufts or clumps. Flowering stems erect or ascending, sometimes from spreading bases, glabrous. Leaf sheaths rounded on the back to slightly keeled, glabrous or somewhat roughened, the ligule often somewhat irregular along the margin. Leaf blades flat or with inrolled margins, glabrous or roughened. Inflorescences open to dense panicles with strongly ascending to spreading branches, erect or slightly arched. Spikelets somewhat flattened laterally, disarticulating above the glumes (and sometimes also at the base of the inflorescence), with 1 perfect floret and without additional staminate or sterile florets. Glumes about as long as to somewhat longer than the rest of the spikelet, similar in shape and size (the lower glume sometimes slightly shorter than the other glume), somewhat keeled, lanceolate, narrowed or tapered to a sharply pointed tip, awnless. Lemma membranous at maturity, lanceolate, bluntly to sharply pointed at the tip, sometimes the tip with 1 or 3 minute teeth, rounded on the back, awnless or less commonly short‑awned (the short awn attached below the middle of the back or the long slender awn attached toward the tip in A. elliottiana), (3)5‑nerved, glabrous or roughened, the base short‑hairy. Palea absent or up to 2/3 as long as the lemma, membranous, nerveless or 2‑nerved. Stamens 1 or more commonly 3. Fruits narrowly oblong‑elliptic in outline. About 200–220 species, nearly worldwide, mostly in temperate regions.

Several species of Agrostis are cultivated as turf grasses for lawns. Some of the species can be difficult to distinguish.


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1 1. Lemma with a bent or twisted awn, this 3–10 mm long, longer than the spikelet; plants annual...2. A. ELLIOTTIANA

Agrostis elliottiana
2 1. Lemma awnless or less commonly with a nearly straight awn, this 0.5–3.0 mm long, shorter than the spikelet; plants perennial (sometimes difficult to determine in small plants of A. hyemalis)

3 2. Floret with the palea absent or if present, then reduced and less than 1/2 as long as the lemma

4 3. Main branches of the inflorescence branched again well above the middle; leaf blades 1–2(–3) mm wide; lemma 0.5–1.5 mm long...4. A. HYEMALIS

5 3. Main branches of the inflorescence branched again mostly at or below the middle (sometimes slightly above the middle); leaf blades (2–)3–8 mm wide; lemma 1.2–2.3 mm long...5. A. PERENNANS

Agrostis perennans
6 2. Floret with the palea present and relatively well developed, 1/2–2/3 as long as the lemma

7 4. Ligules 0.5–2.5 mm long, mostly shorter than wide, truncate at the tip; inflorescences with the branches and the spikelet stalks glabrous, the branches all naked (without spikelets) toward the base...1. A. CAPILLARIS

Agrostis capillaris
8 4. Ligules 2–6 mm long, as long as or longer than broad, rounded at the tip; inflorescences with the branches and usually also the spikelet stalks roughened, at least some of the branches with spikelets all the way to the base (species sometimes difficult to differentiate)

9 5. Plants with well-developed but often short rhizomes, these with more than 3 scales; stolons absent; inflorescences open, with loosely ascending to spreading main branches at maturity...3. A. GIGANTEA

Agrostis gigantea
10 5. Plants without rhizomes but with stemlike, nonscaly stolons sometimes present (or the stem bases rooting at the lowermost nodes); inflorescences usually narrow, with strongly ascending branches at maturity (sometimes relatively open when young)...6. A. STOLONIFERA Agrostis stolonifera
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