Samstag, 5. Mai 2012

Plant of the Day (May 5th, 2012) - Lolium perenne L.

As announced, today's “Plant of the Day” is Lolium perenne L; another, very common grass of turfes. It's a member of the Poaceae family and known in Germany as “Ausdauernder Lolch”or “Deutsches Weidelgras”´, while in the English language, it's known as “English Ryegrass” or “Perennial Ryegrass”.

L. perenne - habitus

It's a grass, which can reach heights between 20 and 60 centimetres.
The upright growing, smooth stalk has a dark-green colour and they typical nodes of the Poaceae. The narrow leaves are until 20 centimetres long and only 4 to 6 millimetres wide. They are also a little bit serrated.
L. perenne has the ability to spread out per underground offshoots, so it quickly forms a dense turf.

L. perenne - shoot and leaf

The species is an ear-grass, so the inflorescences are sessile spikes with 6 to 10 spikes per plant and one terminal spike at the end of the shoot.
These spikes are arranged in to alternating rows, what is also a characteristic feature of the Genus Lolium (and a good difference to the similar looking Genus Elymus). They are up to 10 millimetres long and have only one one glume (which is another distinctive feature of this Genus) and no awn. The reason for the single glume is the arrangement of the spikes in alternating rows. Flowering time is between May and October.

L. perenne - infolrescence

L. perenne is native to the Europe but is a cosmopolitan today and can be found all other the World as Neophyte. It is a very popular grass for gardens and turfs (also playgrounds) because it grows fast and is very insensitive to mechanical stress. It prefers nutrient-rich, fresh soils and a temperate climate, but is a little bit sensitive to heath and frost.

Please note: It's not unusual for this species to interbreed with other species. A very common hybrid is x Festulolium ascendens A. & Graeb.; the result of an interbreeding between Lolium perenne L and F. pratensis, which I've shown you in my previous post.
In some cases the hybrid looks more like L. perenne and in other cases more like F. pratensis. Therefore, it's possible, that my pictures show this hybrid, but I cannot say surely.

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