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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 22 | Poaceae | Aira

1. Aira caryophyllea Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 66. 1753.

银须草 yin xu cao

Culms solitary or tufted, erect or slightly geniculate, very slender, 5–30 cm tall, scabrid. Leaf sheaths scaberulous; leaf blades narrowly linear to filiform, 1–5 cm, 2–3 mm wide; ligule lanceolate, 1–4 mm, acute becoming lacerate. Panicle open, ovate in outline, up to 10 cm; branches 2–5 cm, capillary, scabrid, bearing spikelets in clusters toward tips; pedicels 2–4 mm, up to twice spikelet length, a pear-shaped swelling below spike-let. Spikelets ovate-oblong in outline, 2–3.5 mm, shining, silvery-gray or tinged purplish; glumes as long as spikelet, keel scaberulous; florets both awned; lemmas brown, 3/4 length of glumes, scabrid, narrowed to 2-toothed apex; awn 2.5–4 mm, arising from lower 1/3 of lemma. Anthers 0.3–0.6 mm.

Dry grassy places in mountains; ca. 3600 m. W Xizang [India, Russia; N Africa, SW Asia, Europe; introduced in North and South America and Australia].

This pioneer of dry, open places is now widespread in temperate regions.


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