Tall Wheat Grass
Lophopyrum elongatum (Host) A.Love
Synonyms - Agropyron elongatum, Agropyron varnense, Elymus elongatus, Elymus varnensis, Elytrigia pontica, Elytrigia elongata Thinopyrum ponticum, Thinopyrum elongatum.
Rush Wheatgrass (USA)
Summary:A summer growing, erect, tufted perennial grass up to 1.3 m tall with zig zag seed heads and spikelets sunken into depression in the stem. It is often found or planted in saline areas.
First leaves: Long and narrow. Tip pointed.
Leaves:Rolled in the bud.
Blade - Long, narrow, up to 70 mm wide, stiff, flat or rolled not folded, rolled when dry. Edges usually rough. A few short or long stiff hairs or hairless
Ligule - Short, up to 1 mm long, membranous, rim usually with very short hairs. Tip obtuse.
Auricles - Present
Sheath - Tubular.
Stem leaves - none.
Stems: Erect, robust, tufted, 600-1300 mm tall.
Flower head:Long spike flattish, 130-350 mm long x up to 20 mm wide. Sometimes partially enclosed in the uppermost sheath. Main axis (rachis) flattened, angles rough, somewhat zig zag. Internodes flat and facing the spikelet. Breaks above the glumes and between the lemmas
Flowers:Spikelets - 11 -30 mm long, flattened, stalkless, held close to the stem.
Florets - 3-15, bisexual. Top floret often reduced.
Glumes - almost the same length, 7-12 mm long, placed side by side, stiff, smooth, ribbed, keeled, keel often rough. Hairless. Tip pointed to flat.
Lemmas - 7-12 mm long, smooth, keel often rough. Tip pointed to obtuse. Edges often with tiny hairs, otherwise hairless. No awns.
Palea - almost the same length as the lemma, smooth, 2 keeled, keels rough. Hairless. Tip obtuse.
Seeds:Pale. Cylindrical and somewhat angular. 10-12 mm long x 1-2 mm diameter. Blunt tip. Blunt base. Surface grooved and hairless.
Key Characters:Plants without long rhizomes.
Rachis of inflorescence 1.5 mm or more wide, glabrous but scabrous or ciliate on the edges.
Spikelet > 5 flowered, solitary at each node of the rachis, sunken into depressions in the rachis.
Alternate spikelets on opposite sides of the rachis.
Glumes >2 mm wide, obtuse, not bulging on the back, both glumes developed.
Lemma without awn but may be shortly mucronate.
Short membranous ligule.
Adapted from Gwen Harden and John Moore.
Perennial. Summer growing. Seeds germinate in autumn to winter.
Tolerates temporary water logging.
Digestibility - 50-76%.
Protein - 7.5-19%.
Metabolisable energy - 7-11 MJ/kg.
Spring to summer in NSW.
Seed Biology and Germination:Vegetative Propagules:
Hybrids and Cultivars:
Dundas is newer cultivar developed from Tyrell and is leafier with higher productivity and digestibility.
Population Dynamics and Dispersal:Spread by seed and intentional planting.
Origin and History:Southern Europe, Balkans and southern Russia.
Distribution:ACT, NSW, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
Fodder crop tolerant of saline soils.
Salt land rehabilitation plant.
Toxicity:Not recorded as toxic.
Management and Control:Heavy grazing or mowing reduces the vigour of stands.
Spray with 1 L glyphosate in 100 L water when actively growing before flowering in spring. Repeat annually to control seedlings.
Herbicide resistance:None reported.
Related plants:No other species in Australia.
Related plants have been used in wheat breeding programs.
Plants of similar appearance:Grasses.
References:Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).
Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).
Harden, Gwen J. (1991). Flora of NSW. (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney). Volume 4. P424. Diagram.
Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).
Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #600.1.
Moerkerk, M.R. and Barnett A.G. (1998) More Crop Weeds. (R.G and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne). P37. Photos. Diagrams.
Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.