Pictured above: Koeleria pyramidata
This genus is characterized by shiny spikelets in contracted spike-like panicles. Spikelets are 2-4-flowered and slightly flattened. The hairy rachilla generally projects beyond the last floret; glumes are broad and only slightly shorter than the first lemma. Leaves are generally in a basal clump.
There is 1 species in MN, and it is native.
Koeleria pyramidata (coo leh' ree ah py rah mih day' tah)
- Synonyms: Koeleria macrantha, Koeleria cristata
- Common names: prairie junegrass, crested hair grass
- Origin and habitat: Native; dry prairies, sand-hills, and open savannas
- Identifying characters: A cool-season perennial with clustered stems as much as 5 dm tall (though usually only about 3 dm) and with a ring of felt-like hairs just below the upper nodes. Leaf sheaths are pubescent with blades generally scabrous and margins pubescent; with tiny ligules (up to 1 mm long). Spikelets are 2-flowered with acute awnless lemmas. The inflorescence opens widely for pollination, then contracts.
- Comments: This is a short-lived perennial and depends on reseeding for population sustainability. Prairie junegrass has high forage value during early stages.
Additional species in Minnesota:
Copyright 2002, A.F. Cholewa, J.F. Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota / No portion of this guide may be duplicated without written permission of author.