Annual, or perennial and then the lowest culm internode sometimes swollen into a corm. Panicle spiciform to capitate.(P. arundinacea merely contracted). Spikelets ovate, the two lower florets reduced to rudimentary lemmas; glumes equal, exceeding and enclosing lemma, keeled, the keel ususally winged; sterile lemmas usually subulate and up to 1/2 length of fertile lemma, rarely chaffy or little fleshy scales, sometimes the lower reduced to an obscure knob; fertile lemma polished coriaceous, the margins not overlapping, acute, awnless; palea coriaceous, 2-nerve, without keels. Hilum linear.
North temperate zone, but mainly Mediterranean with a secondary centre in California; also in South America.
Species 15. Dry weedy places and on damp soils. P. canariensis is cultivated, mainly for bird seed.
Anderson, D. E. 1961. Taxonomy and distribution of the genus Phalaris. Iowa State J. of Science. 36(1): 1-96.