West Highland Flora

Perennial Ryegrass


Lolium perenne

 

Lolium perenne

Photo Carl Farmer
10 Aug 2002 Broadford, Skye

Common on roadsides and in grassland, especially in places frequented by cattle.

Spikelets c 8-12 mm long.  Plant up to 50 cm high.

ID: Spikelets alternating up the axis, with only one glume except for the terminal spikelet which has two.  Nearly always lacks awns, whereas L multiflorum nearly always has them.  However to be absolutely sure, check whether the young leaves are folded (L multiflorum) or rolled (L perenne) as they emerge from the sheath. 

Other features: Perennial, often tufted.  Spikelets typically have 8-11 florets.  Their inner edge fits into a hollow in the axis instead of having a glume on that side.  Leaves up to 6 mm wide.  Ligule very short and squared-off, c 1 mm high.

This grass is native but various cultivated strains of it are often sown.  It can hybridise in the wild with L multiflorum, and there are also hybrid cultivars.

 

Lolium perenne

Photo Carl Farmer
11 Jun 2002 Seahouses, Northumbria

 

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