Lolium perenne L.

perennial rye grass

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Perennial rye grass is a Eurasian species that is commonly included in lawn seed mixtures and used for forage and erosion control in North America.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
1–6 mm
Inflorescence branches
there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
Spikelet length
5–22 mm
Glume relative length
  • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
  • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0–8 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
Anther length
2–4.2 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    2–4.2 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    • the lemma is hard and firm
    • the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    2–10
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume keel
    the glume keels are smooth and hairless
    Glume relative length
    • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is flat or curved in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 3
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Glumes per spikelet
    • 1
    • 2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis hairs
    the inflorescence axis is rough and feels like sand-paper
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    • the inflorescence axis is arched or curved outward
    • the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch length
    0 cm
    Inflorescence branch roughness
    NA
    Inflorescence branches
    there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence branches coming off the lowest stem node
    0
    Inflorescence crowding
    NA
    Inflorescence length
    30–300 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    • the awn is attached at the upper half of the lemma
    • the awn is attached right at the tip of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is straight or twisted, but not coiled one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    0–8 mm
    Lemma awn number
    • the lemma has no awn
    • the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma is straight
    Lemma base hair length
    0 mm
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma is hairless or feels just a tiny bit rough at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma vein number
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Lower glume length
    3.5–15 mm
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    • palea is longer than lemma
    • palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    Spikelet length
    5–22 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    1
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets do not have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    0 mm
    Spikelet position
    NA
    Spikelet width
    1–7 mm
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    0
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Upper glume length
    3.5–15 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is more than one half as long as the lowest lemma
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
    Seed length
    3–5.5 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
  • Leaves
    Basal leaves
    the plant has few or no leaves coming from the base of the flowering stem
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves have auricles
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade is hairless, but it may have tiny prickles that give it a sand-papery feel
    Leaf blade length
    10–30 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    1–6 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath color and persistence
    the leaf sheathes are reddish-brown and disintegrate or become shredded in older leaves
    Leaf sheath hair type
    there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath hairs
    there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    30–100 cm
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly to completely hairless
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. multiflorum

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. perenne

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Lolium temulentum:
glume mostly 7–28 mm long, the body 0.75–1.5 times as tall as the column of florets, plants annual, with 2- to 10-flowered (vs. L. multiflorum, with the glume 3.5–15 mm long, the body 0.25–0.75 times as tall as the column of florets, and plants annual or perennial, with mostly 5- to 22-flowered spikelets).
Lolium multiflorum:
rachis of the inflorescence rough on the surface opposite the spikelet, spikelets with mostly 11–22 florets, and apex of the glume of upper spikelets not reaching the tip of the lowest lemma on the same side (vs. L. perenne, with the rachis of the inflorescence smooth on the surface opposite the spikelet, rough only on the angles, spikelets with mostly 5–10 florets, apex of the glume of upper spikelets more or less extending to the tip of the lowest lemma on the same side).

Synonyms

  • Lolium multiflorum var. ramosum Guss. ex Arcang. Lolium perenne var. cristatum Pers. ex B.D. Jackson

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Lolium

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Lolium perenne L. E

perennial rye grass. Lolium multiflorum Lam. var. ramosum Guss. ex Arcang.; L. perenne L. var. cristatum Pers. ex B.D. Jackson • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, lawns, seeded areas.