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Published In: Flora Caroliniana, secundum . . . 74. 1788. (Fl. Carol.) 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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4. Phalaris caroliniana Walter (canary grass, May grass)

Pl. 135 a–d; Map 548

Plants annual, forming tufts. Flowering stems 20–100 cm long. Leaf sheaths with the ligule 2–5 mm long. Leaf blades 2–20 cm long, 3–10 mm wide. Inflorescences 1–7 cm long, 8–20 mm wide, appearing as dense, ellipsoid to nearly cylindrical, uninterrupted spikes, the branches very short and inconspicuous. Glumes 4–6 mm long, glabrous or slightly roughened, the midnerve (keel) narrowly winged toward the tip, the wing up to 0.5 mm wide at its broadest point. Sterile lemmas 1.5–2.5 mm long, linear, membranous to papery, not swollen or fleshy, hairy. Fertile lemma 3.0–4.6 mm long, ovate, hairy. Anthers 0.5–1.0 mm long. Fruits 2.0–2.4 mm long, elliptic to oblong‑ovate in outline, reddish brown. 2n=14. June–October.

Uncommon, mostly in western Missouri (southern U.S. north to Virginia, Kansas, and Oregon; Mexico). Swamps, bottomland forests, and moist depressions of upland prairies and glades (rarely on drier ground); also pastures, fallow fields, ditches, roadsides, and moist, disturbed areas.

Fruits of this species apparently were used as a food by Native Americans during presettlement times.



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