Please name this grass

mckenziek(9CA)July 12, 2014

This grass grows on my property. I posted images before, but with no seed head, and there was no definitive ID. Now I have pictures of the seed head, so I am reposting. Note that the measuring tape is in cemtimeters, not inches.

whole plant

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seed head 2

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seed head close-up

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front side

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back side

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leaf is a little under 2cm wide

screenshot windows 7

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I believe that is Phalaris: good possibility being Phalaris aquatica, judging by the length/shape of the inflorescence. Common name would be Harding grass; a non-native (though there are are native Phalaris) planted widely by Caltrans and many others.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:19PM
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Thanks! Now that you pointed me in the right direction and I have read about it a bit, I believe it is P. aquatica. Sometimes it is hard to know where to even start. That is why this forum is so great.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:42PM
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jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)(7b)

Yes, very likely Phalaris aquatica. California has all eleven of the native and non-native Phalaris species found in the US, per BONAP. Of those, the two large ones are P. aquatica and P. arundinacea. That second one, though, has heads spread like fescue, so P. aquatica pretty much wins by default. If you're interested in details, the Grass Manual on the Web is an excellent resource. Follow the link to their home page, then browse the menu on the left side of the screen to Phalaris, and click on the Treatment button for the full key. Or just browse further down to Phalaris aquatica, click the treatment button, and it will take you to the page with detailed description. I also included a close shot of our smaller Phalaris caroliniana for comparison. The structure is surprisingly similar to your plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grass Manual on the Web

This post was edited by jekeesl on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 23:12

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Thanks jekeesl!

You are right, that P. caroliniana picture looks almost like a smaller version of what I have.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:47PM
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