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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 22 | Poaceae | Melica

2. Melica ciliata Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 66. 1753.

小穗臭草 xiao sui chou cao

Melica ciliata subsp. taurica (K. Koch) Tzvelev; M. ciliata var. taurica (K. Koch) Grisebach; M. taurica K. Koch.

Perennial, densely tufted, shortly rhizomatous. Culms 20–80 cm tall, 1–2 mm in diam. Leaf sheaths scabrid with upwardly directed teeth; leaf blades usually rolled, 6–10 cm × 1–4 mm, abaxial (outer) surface smooth or scabrid; ligule 1–4 mm. Panicle spikelike, 2.5–8 cm, dense or rather lax, strongly to indistinctly 1-sided, sometimes lobed below, main axis usually visible. Spikelets 4–8 mm, green or purplish, fertile floret 1, terminal sterile lemmas gathered into globular cluster; glumes ovate, papery, 5-veined, lower glume 3/4–4/5 length of upper, upper glume as long as spikelet, both acute; lemma lanceolate, 2.5–3.2 mm, granular-scaberulous, 7–9-veined, densely ciliate along marginal veins with 2–3 mm hairs, apex acute; palea keels ciliolate. Anthers 0.8–1.5 mm. Fl. May–Jul. 2n = 18.

Grassy places in rock gullies; ca. 1500 m. Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan; SW Asia (Caucasus, N Iran), Europe].

This is an extremely variable species, variants differing in the number of culm nodes, degree and position of roughness on the leaves, panicle shape and density, and spikelet color and length. This variation is often partitioned among several ill-defined subspecies. Melica ciliata subsp. taurica has been reported from Xinjiang (as M. taurica). This variant is distinguished by scabrid leaf sheaths, scabrid abaxial surface of leaf blades, and a rather dense, almost cylindrical panicle of many pale green, 4–6 mm spikelets.


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