Plants loosely cespitose, sometimes rhizomatous. Culms (30)40-90 cm, glabrous or puberulent above. Sheaths sparsely sericeous to densely pubescent, old sheaths persistent, disintegrating into wavy, curled, or arched fibers; ligules 0.5-1 mm; blades 5-24 cm long, 1-5 mm wide, flat, margins of the basal blades often ciliate below, with hairs usually more than 2 mm. Panicles 5-22 cm long, 1-3(5) cm wide; branches villous. Spikelets 6-10 mm, with 2-4(5) florets; rachillas with scattered pubescence. Glumes acute, glabrous, smooth or scabrous; lower glumes 4-5 mm, 1-veined; upper glumes 5-6 mm, 3-veined; calluses broadly rounded, pubescent; lemmas 4-6 mm, glabrous or puberulent, rarely ciliate, usually green when young, stramineous at maturity, apices acuminate to shortly aristate; anthers 2-2.5 mm. Caryopses 2.5-3.8 mm. 2n = 14.
Koeleria pyramidata, as interpreted here, is confined to Europe. Some North American records for K. pyramidata are based on robust specimens of K. macrantha; others reflect an interpretation of K. pyramidata that includes K. macrantha.
Tufted perennial 3-6 dm; culms hairy below the infl; ligule short, erose; blades 1-3 mm wide, flat, or involute when dry; spike-like panicle 5-12 נ1-2 cm; spikelets subsessile, overlapping, ±scabrous; first glume lance-oblong, 2.6-4+ mm; second glume broadest above the middle, 3.2-5+ mm; lemma awnless; anthers 1-1.8 mm; 2n=14, 28, 42, 56, 70, 84. Dry soil, prairies, sand-hills, and open woods; circumboreal, s. in Amer. to Del., Mo., and Tex.; s. S. Amer. (K. cristata, an illegitimate name; K. gracilis; K. macrantha; K. nitida)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
FNA 2003, Gould 1980
Common Name: prairie Junegrass Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Perennial bunchgrass, 25-70 cm tall; mostly glabrous, pubescent with short-grayish hairs below the panicles and near the nodes. Vegetative: Blades mostly basal, 1-4 mm wide, upper surface of the blades prominently ribbed; sheath rounded on back or somewhat keeled, with rough, firm, stiff hairs; ligule 1-2 mm long, truncate to irregularly toothed-ciliate, whitish, thin and translucent, often w Inflorescence: Panicle narrow, contracted, appears like a dense aggregation of spikelets; spikelets laterally compressed, 4-5 mm long, with 2 or 3 florets; disarticulation above the glumes; lower glume lance-ovate; upper glume obovate, shorter than lowest lemma, with scarious margins; lemma barely nerved, awnless, with broad translucent margins; palea entirely translucent, as long as lemma. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes, woodlands and open forests, pine woods from 4,000-9,000 ft (1219-2743 m); flowers May-Sept. Distribution: Western, central, and midwestern US, through adjacent CAN to AK. Notes: Distinguished by being a small bunchgrass, with prominent raised veins (ribbing) on the upper surface of the blades, and having a small, white membranous ligule often with a torn "divot" in the middle when the blade is pulled back. There may be some value for Junegrass to suppress invasive annuals. Often treated as K. pyramidata or K. cristata, the latest Flora of North America treatment (as well as Flora Neomexicana, 2012) is considering North American material to be K. macrantha. Appears similar to Sphenolepis obtusata, but disarticulation is below the glumes on that species (i.e. glumes detatch along with the seeds, while in K. macrantha the glumes remain attached to the plant when the seeds fall off.) Ethnobotany: Seeds used as a grain in bread and porridge; used ceremonially in the Sun Dance; straw added to adobe and bundles used as brooms. Etymology: Koeleria is named for German botanist L. Koeler (1765-1807), while macrantha is Latin for large-flowered. Synonyms: Koeleria macrantha, K. cristata, K. cristata var. longifolia, K. cristata var. pinetorum, K. gracilis, K. nitida, K. pyramidata, K. yukonensis, Aira macrantha Editor: SBuckley 2010, AHazelton 2015