Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Glyceria maxima (Hartm.) O.R. Holmberg
- Family: Grass (Gramineae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this meadowgrass are the spikelets up to
1/3 inch long, the inflorescence up to 1 1/2 feet long, and the sharply nerved lemmas.
- Habitat: Wet ditches, wet meadows, stream banks.
- Habit: Tufted perennial from thickened rootstocks.
- Stems: Upright, branched or unbranched, smooth, up to 5 feet tall.
- Leaves: Elongated, flat, smooth or rough to the touch, up to 3/4 inch wide; sheaths closed
and fused, more or less smooth.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets arranged in a much branched panicle up to 1 1/2 feet long;
spikelets 4- to 8-flowered, purplish or yellowish, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Glumes: Lanceolate, pointed at the tip, whitish and sometimes membranaceous, up to
1/8 inch long.
- Lemmas: Narrowly ovate, purplish, rounded at the tip, sharply nerved, a little longer than
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, smooth.
- Fruits: Grains ellipsoid, smooth.
- Notes: In the past this species has usually been considered a part of Glyceria grandis and
still appears as this in some recent texts including Gleason and Cronquist. Gleason and
Cronquist call this family Poaceae. The grains are eaten by waterfowl.
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