Awned canary grass

Phalaris paradoxa

Annual Phalaris species have leaves with an open leaf-sheath, membranous ligule and flat blade with auricle; upper leaves have a swollen leaf-sheath which envelopes the inflorescence before flowering; the inflorescence is a compact panicle; the spikelets are composed of three flowers; the upper one fertile or sterile, the two lower ones sterile, reduced to two lemmas; the two glumes are the same size, longer than the flowers, coriaceous, with a winged keel.

The leaves of Phalaris seedlings are glabrous, pale green, with a reddish pigmentation at the base. To distinguish between the Phalaris species in the seedling stage it is necessary to observe the caryopsis from which they emerge. In the cariopside of P. brachystachys and P. minor the spikelets disperse separately, while in the case of P. paradoxa several spikelets remain together (as a group), with the fertile one in the middle. Furthermore, the lemma of the caryopsis of P. paradoxa is glabrous, which it is not in the other mentioned species.

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