Plants annual or biennial. Culms (35)50-120(300) cm. Blades (3)4-12 mm wide, usually glabrous. Spikes (2)4.5-12(19) cm, often nodding when mature; disarticulation in the rachis, at the nodes, tardy or the spikes not disarticulating. Glumes 8-20 mm, with scabrous keels, keels terminating in awns, awns 1-3 mm; lemmas 14-18 mm, smooth to scabridulous, awns 7-50 mm; anthers about 7 mm. 2n = 14, 21, 28.
Secale cereale is one of the world's most important cereal grasses;
it is also widely used in North America for soil stabilization and, particularly
in Canada, for whisky. When dry, the spike is often distinctly nodding.
Frederiksen and Petersen (1998) placed cultivated plants with a nondisarticulating rachis into Secale cereale L. subsp. cereale, and wild or weedy plants with a more fragile rachis into Secale cereale subsp. ancestrale Zhuk.
Plants perennial, cespitose. Culms (35)60-100(150) cm. Blades2-8 mm wide, glabrous or scabridulous. Spikes (3.5)5-8(11) cm; disarticulation in the rachis, at the nodes, occurring readily. Glumes 8-11 mm, densely scabrous on the keels, acuminate or awned, awns 3-4 mm; lemmas 8-14 mm, awns 2-25 mm. 2n = 14.
Secale strictum is native to Eurasia and, as a disjunct, to South
Africa. It grows on dry, stony or sandy soils, often in mountainous areas.
So far as is known, it is not established in the Flora region.
Hitchcock (1951) reported that Secale
strictum had become established
around the Agricultural Experiment Station in Pullman, Washington, but
it is no longer present there. Prior to 1931, the station worked on development
of a Secale cereale × S. strictum strain that would
combine the perennial habit with good seed production. The attempt had
been abandoned by 1931, but hybrid seed had been distributed as 'Michaels
Grass'. It was originally thought to be derived from a Triticum
aestivum × Leymus racemosus cross,
but subsequent studies, both morphological and cytological, revealed that
it was S. cereale × S. strictum.
Robust annual (biennial) 6-12 dm, branched from the base; lvs flat, 3-7(-10) mm wide; spikes stout, 6-15 cm, arcuate-nodding; spikelets disarticulating above the glumes and between the florets; glumes equal, 7.5-15 mm, the strong keel scabrociliate; lemmas 12-16 mm, pectinate-ciliate on the keel and margins, with awn 2-7 cm; anthers ca 8 mm; 2n=14, 16, 27-29. European cultigen, often spontaneous in disturbed sites with us, but probably never persistent.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.