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Pakistan | Family List | Poaceae


Animal or perennial herbs. Leaf-blades setaceous, filiform or linear; ligule membranous. Inflorescence usually a panicle, rarely a raceme or spike. Spikelets all alike (rarely dioecious or with mixed fertile and sterile spikelets), laterally compressed, 2-many-flowered, the uppermost florets reduced; rhachilla disarticulating below each floret (rarely the spikelets falling entire); glumes persistent, shorter than the lowest lemma (rarely the lower glume absent); lemmas herbaceous, (3-)5-13-nerved, with or without a straight or curved awn from the tip; palea hyaline, as long as the lemma; lodicules 2, rarely 0, stamens 3, rarely 1; Stigmas 2. Grain with small embryo and linear or punctiform hilum; starch grains compound. Chromosomes large, basic number 7.

Genera ± 45, temperate regions of both hemispheres; 18 genera and 82 species in Pakistan.

A large tribe with distinctive anatomy, usually recognised by the paniculate inflorescence, several-flowered spikelet exserted from the glumes, nad 5-or more nerved lamma, but as is to be expected in a large tribe, there are a number of exceptions to the standard pattern.

1 Lemma strongly 5-nerved, translucent between the nerves, tuberculate on the back   Castellia
+ Lemmas not as above, not tuberculate on the back   (2)
2 (1) Spikelets dimorphic; fertile spikelets surrounded by an involucre of 2-4 sterile spikelets   Lamarckia
+ Spikelets all the same   (3)
3 (2) Lateral spikelets without a lower glume; inflorescence a spike   (4)
+ All spikelets bearing both lower and upper glumes; inflorescence a spike, raceme or panicle   (5)
4 (3) Upper glume extremely short; spike long, flexuous and very slender; spikelets with 1 fertile floret and sometimes also a reduced sterile floret   Psilurus
+ Upper glume at least a quarter the length of the spikelet; spike stiff, straight or slightly curved; spikelets 3-12(-22)-flowered   Lolium
5 (3) Inflorescence a secund spike   Loliolum
+ Inflorescence a raceme or panicle   (6)
6 (5) Lemmas strongly keeled all along the back (or if rounded and very blunt then spikelets 3.5-4 mm long)   (7)
+ Lemmas rounded on the back or sometimes slightly keeled at the extreme base or tip   (11)
7 (6) Panicle dichotomously branched   Cutandia
+ Panicle not dichotomously branched   (8)
8 (7) Spikelets broadly ovate; lemma inflated, awnless, cordate at the base, many-nerved   Briza
+ Spikelets not as above; lemma not inflated or cordate at the base   (9)
9 (8) Lemma with 5-7 prominent thick nerves, chartaceous with broad hyaline margins; inflorescence a rigid, ± secund raceme with pedicels up to 1 mm long   Sclerochloa
+ Lemma membranous; inflorescence a panicle   (10)
10 (9) Inflorescence a lobed, 1-sided, condensed panicle, the branches crowded with compact fascicles of spikelets   Dactylis
+ Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle, but never as above   Poa
11 (6) Plant annual   (12)
+ Plant perennial   (13)
12 (11) Panicle dense, 1-sided, the spikelets appressed to the rhachis; lemma with a long or short awn   Vulpia
+ Panicle effuse or ± contracted but not 1-sided; lemma awnless, obtuse to acuminate   Eremopoa
13 (11) Spikelets 1-flowered; glumes almost as long as the lemma   Paracolpodium
+ Spikelets 2-9-flowered, if 1-flowered then glumes considerably shorter than the lemma   (14)
14 (13) Hilum linear, running the length of the caryopsis; lemma usually acuminate and sometimes awned   Festuca
+ Hilum punctiform or oblong, at most a third the length of the caryopsis: lemma truncate to acute, awnless   (15)
15 (14) Spikelets 7-10 mm long; upper glume cuneate with rotund denticulate tip   Hyalopoa
+ Spikelets 2.5-7 mm long; upper glume usually ovate to lanceolate or elloptic and blunt to subacute at the tip; if spikelets up to 9 mm long then upper glume acute   (16)
16 (15) Plant aquatic, stoloniferous and with succulent stems; lower glume nerveless   Catabrosa
+ Plant without stolons or succulent stems, tufted or rhizomatous; lower glume 1-nerved   (17)
17 (16) Mid-nerve of lemma falling short of the obtuse, broadly membranous tip; lemma shortly hairy at the base; panicle contracted, spike-like   Catabrosella
+ Mid-nerve of lemma reaching right to the blunt or acute tip and sometimes excurrent as a short mucro; lemma glabrous at the base; if lemma as above then panicle branches widely spreading and ± deflexed at maturity   Puccinellia

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