Plant Guide > Grasses > Ray Grass

Ray Grass


Lolium perenne L. Perennial.

Honour should be granted the Ray-grass, since it was probably the first of the grasses noticed and cultivated as a forage plant.

In Europe its use extends over many scores of years, and it is certain that in England Raygrass has been held in esteem since the days of Charles II, though it was not until after the middle of the eighteenth century that other grasses were considered worth the care of gathering and sowing.

Like many of the field grasses Ray-grass has long been naturalized from Europe, but it is less frequently cultivated in this country than are other grasses more suited to our soil and climate.

The slender elongated spikes, rising in midsummer, are beaded with edgewise placed spikelets which open stiffly in flower and are light green in colour with pale pendent anthers.

Ray-grass. Rye-grass. Ray-darnel. Lolium perenne L. Perennial.

Naturalized from Europe.

Stem 1-3 ft. tall, erect. Ligule short. Leaves 2'-8' long, 1"-2 1/2" wide, flat, roughish.

Spike 3'-9' long, narrow. Spikelets 5-12-flowered, 4"-8" long, green,
solitary, sessile on alternate notches of the rachis; edge of each spikelet (or backs of the scales) turned toward the rachis. Two empty
scales in terminal spikelet, only one empty scale in other spikelets. Empty scale acute or obtuse, dark green, thick, strongly nerved; flowering scales acute or short-awned, occasionally obtuse; palets nearly as long as flowering scales. Stamens 3.

Fields, waysides, and waste grounds. June to August.

Canada to North Carolina and Tennessee, also in California and Arizona.