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Published In: Flora Badensis Alsatica 1: 8. 1805. (Fl. Bad.) Name publication detail
 

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/28/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
 

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81. Vulpia C.C. Gmel. (annual fescue)

(Lonard and Gould, 1974)

Plants annual, forming tufts. Flowering stems usually erect. Leaf sheaths open to the base, the ligule short (less than 1 mm long), truncate and usually minutely uneven on the margin. Leaf blades flat or with the margins inrolled. Inflorescences narrow panicles with relatively few ascending branches toward the base, rarely unbranched and racemose, the spikelets loosely or densely spaced along the branches, but not regularly paired, all similar in size and appearance and with at least some fertile florets (these usually cleistogamous [other species open‑flowering elsewhere]). Spikelets elliptic in outline, flattened, with 3–15 florets, the apical 1–3 florets usually sterile, the others perfect. Glumes much shorter than the rest of the spikelet, narrowly lanceolate to linear, sharply pointed at the tip, usually glabrous, the lower glume slightly to much shorter, 1‑nerved, the upper glume 3‑nerved (the nerves sometimes faint), sometimes with a short awn at the tip. Lemmas lanceolate, tapered to a sharp point or awn at the tip, rounded on the back, 5‑nerved (sometimes faintly so) with the nerves converging (arched inward) toward the tip, hairy, roughened, or less commonly glabrous on the back. Paleas about as long as the lemmas, narrowly elliptic, with 2 teeth at the tip. Stamen 1(2), this usually remaining enclosed in the spikelet at maturity, the anthers yellow. Fruits narrowly elliptic to linear in outline, slightly flattened to circular in cross‑section, reddish brown, shiny. Twenty‑six species, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa.

Vulpia is often treated as a section or subgenus of the genus Festuca, but it may be more closely related to Lolium (Tucker, 1996). It differs from both of these genera in its annual habit and single stamen per floret. The species of Vulpia are quite variable morphologically and can be difficult to distinguish. In the descriptions below, lemmas “roughened” refers to lemmas with minute, stiff hairs, whereas lemmas “hairy” indicates lemmas with longer, softer hairs. As in other genera of grasses, roughened surfaces have hairlike structures so small that they generally appear as small teeth or protrusions, rather than as distinct hairs, even with magnification.

 

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1 Lower glume less than 1/2 as long as the upper glume 3 Vulpia myuros
+ Lower glume more than 1/2 as long as the upper glume (2)
2 (1) Lemmas hairy 2 Vulpia elliotea
+ Lemmas glabrous or roughened (3)
3 (2) Spikelets with 3–5(–7) relatively loosely spaced florets, the rachilla 0.9–1.1 long between the attachment points of the florets 1 Vulpia bromoides
+ Spikelets with 5–15 densely spaced florets, the rachilla 0.5–0.8 mm long between the attachment points of the florets 4 Vulpia octoflora
 
 
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