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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

63. Poaceae, the Grass Family

21. Phleum L.

1. Phleum pratense L. -- Timothy


Tufted or single-stemmed perennial (4)5-10 dm tall; culms erect, smooth, purple or brown-banded at the nodes, bulbous at the base. Leaf blades flat, 2-8 mm wide, glabrous or scabrous; sheaths glabrous; ligules membranous, 1-4(5) mm long. Inflorescence a very condensed, cylindric, spikelike panicle 2-15 cm long, 5-8 mm thick, the branches and pedicels very short, crowded and hidden by the spikelets. Spikelets 1-flowered, compressed and U-shaped, crowded and uniformly appressed to spreading in the panicle, green or often purple-tipped, turning dull brown in age, disarticulating below the glumes; glumes essentially opposite and equal, strongly compressed and keeled, strongly 3-nerved in the green keeled portion, ciliate on the keel, otherwise membranous and glabrous to puberulent, the body 1.8-3 mm long, rounded to truncate above, the nerves extended into a stout, scabrous awn 0.5-2 mm long; lemma broadly ovate, 1.5-2(2.4) mm long, membranous, glabrous or appressed-puberulent, 5-nerved, the midvein often prolonged into a very short awn; palea membranous, somewhat shorter than the lemma, the 2 nerves sometimes prolonged as very short awns; anthers 1.5-2 mm long. Grain dull brown, plump, obovoid, 1.2-1.5 mm long. Jun--Aug. Wet meadows, low prairie, stream banks, ditches and more upland habitats; a common introduced hay and forage grass now widely established; (Intro. from Europe, naturalized from Newf. to AK, s throughout most of the U.S.).
GIF- Species Photo/Drawing
Phleum pratense (from Hitchcock 1950).
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Section -- Phalaris arundinacea L. -- Reed canarygrass
Return to Family -- Poaceae - The Grass Family
Next Section -- Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex. Steud. -- Common reed

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