Phleum 1Phleum 2

Pictured above: Phleum pratense

This genus is characterized by long ligules (up to 6 mm) with 2 notches and tightly congested panicles appearing spike-like. Spikelets are one-flowered and disarticulate above the glumes. The glumes are compressed and abruptly narrowed at the summit into a mucro or short awn. The lemmas are much shorter and blunt.

There is 1 species in MN; none are native.

Common species:
Phleum pratense (flee' um pray ten' see)

  • Synonyms: None
  • Common names: timothy
  • Origin and habitat: Introduced from Europe; old pastures and other disturbed places
  • Identifying characters: Timothy is a rhizomatous perennial with slightly bulbous bases. Glumes are ciliate along the keel and the lemmas are unawned.
  • Comments: This is considered an important pasture forage grass and was introduced during colonial times for that reason. The common name is attributed to farmer Timothy Hanson who supposedly promoted this as a good source of hay. Seeds apparently withstand digestion better than other grasses and can be carried into forests through livestock and wildlife droppings.

Phleum Map

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.