Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski

   ssp. caput-medusae
Family: Poaceae, Tribe: Triticeae

Pertinent Synonyms & Notes (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other synonyms)

Elymus caput-medusae L.

Pertinent Common Names (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other common names)


Primary Disseminule Type


Description (diagnostics are in brown)

Spikelets in pairs, sessile, consisting of a basal fertile floret and 1 or 2 similar-looking though diminished sterile florets (consisting of 3-veined lemmas only, no paleas) at apex, linear, dorsally compressed, 6–12(45) mm long. Disarticulation below each fertile floret.

Glumes persistent, similar, exceeding apex of florets, (5)15–40(80) mm long, collateral, connate, awl-like, stiff, erect to reflexed, generally glabrous, scabrous.

Fertile florets: rachilla persistent, pubescent, callus oblique, ± pointed, glabrous or pubescent.

Lemma narrowly lanceolate, 5–8 mm long, chartaceous, without keel, 5-veined, veins sometimes purplish, surface scabrous, apex acuminate, 1-awned, awn stiff, straight or curved, (20)30–100(120) mm long.

Palea same length as lemma, 2-veined, keels scabrous, apex truncate, sometimes shallowly bifid.

Caryopsis linear to narrowly lanceolate, dorsally compressed, 6–7 mm long x 1–1.5 mm wide, light orange, apex hairy, fleshy, embryo 0.1–0.15 length of caryopsis, hilum linear, same length as caryopsis, sitting in groove.

Similar Species

Similar Species Comparison Chart

Risk Assessment (codes in yellow or red indicate cause for concern; assessments are current as of mid-2011; click AUQP, NZBORIC, or NZBPI for access to the most recent versions of these databases and possible assessment changes)