Description: Tufted or rhizomatous perennials.
Leaves with ligule membranous, 1–5 mm long; blade rolled in bud, flat, usually pubescent.
Inflorescence a dense, contracted or somewhat loose white to purple panicle, erect or nodding, with hairy branches.
Spikelets pedicellate, solitary, florets 2, the lower bisexual, the upper male, disarticulating below the glumes but not between the florets; rachilla shortly prolonged. Glumes acute, keeled, keel ciliate; lower glume 1-nerved, narrow; upper glume 3-nerved, ovate, often with a very short awn. Lemmas 2, shorter than the glumes, firm, shining, obscurely 3–5-nerved, the lower usually awnless, the upper usually with a recurved or geniculate awn arising from the back just below the apex. Palea slightly shorter than the lemma, minutely hairy on the rounded or 3-lobed apex, narrow, 2-keeled.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 8 species, northern temperate regions of Europe, Asia & northern Africa. Australia: 4 species (naturalized), all States except N.T.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & K. L. McClay
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Tufted, softly hairy plants; awn on the upper lemma hooked or recurved; upper glume and lower lemma sometimes with a short bristle||Holcus lanatus|
|Rhizomatous, hairy or glabrous plant with bearded nodes; awn on upper lemma bent and exserted; upper glume and lower lemma awnless||Holcus mollis|