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

1. Melica persica Kunth, Révis. Gramin. 1: 351. 1829.

伊朗臭草 yi lang chou cao

Perennial, forming dense tussocks, with wiry rhizomes. Culms 15–50 cm tall, ca. 1 mm in diam. Leaf sheaths glabrous, scabrid or retrorsely pubescent; leaf blades flat or rolled, 5–15 cm × 1–3 mm, glabrous to densely pubescent on one or both surfaces; ligule 0.5–5 mm. Panicle spikelike, 5–12 cm, lax and 1-sided to densely cylindrical. Spikelets gaping, 5–11 mm, pallid or purplish, fertile florets 1 or 2, terminal sterile lemmas gathered into globular cluster; lower glume broadly lanceolate, 1/3–3/4 length of upper, 3-veined, upper glume lanceolate, as long as spikelet, 5-veined, both acute; lemmas elliptic, lowest 4–7.5 mm, granular-scaberulous, 7–9-veined, densely hairy with 3–5 mm hairs along all veins, apex acute or 2-toothed, second lemma (when present) shorter, glabrous; palea keels shortly ciliolate. Anthers 1–1.8 mm. Fl. and fr. May–Aug. 2n = 18.

Grassy hillsides. Gansu, Jilin, Sichuan, W Xizang [Afghanistan, NW India, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; NE Africa (Egypt), SW Asia].

Melica persica s.l. comprises a perplexing complex of forms, extending from the E Mediterranean through C Asia. Variable characters include hairiness of the leaf sheaths and blades, angle of the leaf blades, panicle density, spikelet length and color, and the relative length of the glumes. A particularly hairy variant, present in Xizang, is recognized at subspecific rank here. The other Chinese records are based on plants described as having sparsely pubescent lemmas with ca. 1 mm hairs. This is atypical for M. persica s.s. and is also a big extension eastward from its known range. It has not been possible to confirm their identity.

1 Leaf sheaths and blades glabrous to pubescent; spikelets 5–11 mm   1a subsp. persica
+ Leaf sheaths and blades densely pubescent; spikelets 6–8 mm, crowded   1b subsp. canescens


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