Phalaris canariensis L.

common canary grass

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Common canary grass is native to southern Europe and the Canary Islands, but it has been introduced throughout much of the world. It is grown commercially for use in bird seed mixtures for caged birds. It is found in roadsides and other disturbed areas throughout New England.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
2–10 mm
Inflorescence branches
  • the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
  • there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
Spikelet length
6–10 mm
Glume relative length
both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
Leaf ligule length
3–6 mm
Anther length
2–4 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    2–4 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is hard and firm
    Glume relative length
    both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    Glume veins
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    • the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    • there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very congested (crowded), and the branches may not be clearly seen without close inspection
    Inflorescence length
    15–40 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    • the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    • the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    NA
    Lemma awn coiled
    NA
    Lemma awn length
    0 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has no awn
    Lemma awn orientation
    NA
    Lemma base hair length
    0 mm
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is V-shaped if you cut across the midpoint
    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
    One or more florets
    there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet length
    6–10 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Upper glume length
    7–10 mm
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf blade width
    2–10 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    3–6 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    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 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
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    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)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Phalaris arundinacea

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Phalaris

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Phalaris canariensis L. E

common canary grass. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Roadsides, lawns, railroads, disturbed sites.