Secale cereale L.

cultivated rye

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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

Native to the Mediterranean region and Western Asia, rye is one of the world's most important cultivated grains. It has escaped widespread cultivation in North America, and can be found throughout. It is sometimes a weed of grain crops such as wheat. It is also widely planted as a cover crop, and is sometimes used to prevent erosion.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
3–12 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
12–16 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has an awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
7–50 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
  • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
  • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
Leaf ligule length
1–2 mm
Anther length
7–8 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    7–8 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has an awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    2–3
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    1–3 mm
    Glume keel
    the glume keels are rough or hairy
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is V-shaped in cross-section
    Glume veins
    1
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    • the inflorescence axis bends downwards or hangs
    • the inflorescence axis is arched or curved outward
    Inflorescence branch length
    0 cm
    Inflorescence branch roughness
    NA
    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 branches coming off the lowest stem node
    0
    Inflorescence crowding
    NA
    Inflorescence length
    20–190 mm
    Inflorescence length to width ratio
    2–12.7
    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)
    Inflorescence width
    10–15 mm
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    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
    7–50 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma is straight
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is V-shaped if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma keel hairs
    the keel of the lemma is rough, or has fine hairs
    Lemma marginal vein hairs
    the marginal vein of the lemma has fine hairs on it
    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 tip shape
    the lemma tip tapers to a long narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    5
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma stay roughly parallel throughout
    Lower glume length
    8–20 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is nearly as long, or as long as, the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    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 an 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
    12–16 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    1
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets do not have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    0 mm
    Spikelet position
    NA
    Spikelet shape
    • the spikelets are lanceolate (lance-shaped, widest below the middle and tapering narrowly to the ends) in profile
    • the spikelets are oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle) in profile
    • the spikelets are oblong (rectangular, but with rounded ends) in profile
    • the spikelets are obovate (egg-shaped but with the widest point above the middle) in profile
    • the spikelets are ovate (egg-shaped, widest below the middle with rounded ends) in profile
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    0
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    8–20 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is more than one half as long as the lowest lemma
  • Fruits or seeds
    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    • the plant lives more than two years
    • the plant lives only a single year or less
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • 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 basal lobe hairy
    the lobes at the base of the leaf blades are hairless
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf blade is rounded in to a narrower base, or the blade cuts in abruptly to the narrower base
    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
    • the leaf blade is hairy
    Leaf blade length
    10–20 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    3–12 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    1–2 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 hair type
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath hairs
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Orientation of topmost leaf
    • the flag leaf is held outward at more than a 45 degree angle from the stem, or it curves downwards from the horizontal
    • the flag leaf is held upright, or at less than a 45 degree angle out from the stem
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    35–300 cm
    Stem hairs
    • the stem has hairs on it
    • the stem is nearly to completely hairless
    Stem node number
    6–7
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Not classified

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

Hordeum vulgare:
spikelets numbering 2-4 at each node of the inflorescence and auricles longer, up to 6 mm long (vs. S. cereale, with spikelets solitary at each node of the inflorescence and auricles short, 0.5-1 mm long).

Synonyms

  • Triticum cereale (L.) Salisb.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Secale

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Secale cereale L. E

cultivated rye. Triticum cereale (L.) Salisb. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Roadsides, seeded banks, areas of cultivation.