Plant Guide > Grasses > Darnel Grass

Darnel Grass


Closely related to this species is the "infelix lolium" of Vergil - Lolium temulentum - supposed by some to have been the "tares among the wheat" mentioned in St. Matthew's Gospel.

This latter species, the Darnel, an annual occasionally found as a weed in grain fields, is remarkable for the poisonous quality of its seeds which cause serious trouble if the "tares" are gathered with the wheat and the seeds find their way to the mill with the pure grain.

The most noticeable difference between this grass and Ray-grass, to which the name of Darnel is sometimes erroneously applied, is
that in the true Darnel the long outer scale fully equals, and often exceeds, its spikelet in length.

In Scotland the name of "Sleepies" has been given to Darnel on account of the narcotic effect of its seeds, though more recently it has been said that only the diseased, or ergotized, grain is poisonous.