3. Phalaris canariensis L. (canary grass)
Pl. 135 e,
f; Map 547
Plants annual, forming tufts. Flowering stems 20–90 cm long.
Leaf sheaths with the ligule 2–7 mm long. Leaf blades 4–25 cm long, 3–11 mm
wide. Inflorescences 1.5–4.0 cm long, 15–20 mm wide, appearing as dense, ovoid,
uninterrupted spikes, the branches very short and inconspicuous. Glumes
(4–)6–10 mm long, glabrous or hairy, the midnerve (keel) relatively broadly
winged toward the tip, the wing up to 1 mm wide at its broadest point. Sterile
lemmas 2.5–4.5 mm long, lanceolate, membranous to papery, not swollen or
fleshy, densely hairy. Fertile lemma 3.6–7.0 mm long, ovate, hairy. Anthers
2.5–3.5 mm long. Fruits 3.9–4.5 mm long, elliptic to oblong‑ovate in
outline, light brown to olive‑brown. 2n=12. June–October.
Introduced, uncommon and widely scattered in southern and
central Missouri (native of Europe, introduced widely but sporadically in North
America, Mexico, and the Southern Hemisphere). Roadsides, railroads, and open,
This species is economically important as a source of seeds
for pet birds. It escapes infrequently and probably does not persist for very
long in the wild.