Canary grass

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Canary grass
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Phalaris canariensis.jpg
Plant Info
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Scientific classification
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Order: Poales
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Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Poaceae
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Genus: Phalaris
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Species: P. canariensis
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Binomial name
Phalaris canariensis
Trinomial name
Type Species

Canary Grass is a plant, Phalaris canariensis belonging to the family Poaceae. Originally a native of the Mediterranean region, it is now grown commercially in several parts of the world for bird seed, hence the name. This large, coarse grass has erect, hairless stems, usually from 2 to 6 feet (0.6- 1.8 meters) tall. The ligule is prominent and membranous, 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) long and rounded at the apex. The gradually tapering leaf blades are 3 1/2-10 inches (8.9-25.4 cm) long, 1/4-3/4 inch (0.6-1.9 cm) wide, flat, and often harsh on both surfaces. The compact panicles are erect or sometimes slightly spreading and range from 3-16 inches (7.6-40.6 cm) long with branches 1/2-1 1/2 inches (1.2-3.8 cm) long. Single flowers occur in dense clusters in May to mid-June or August. Inflorescences are green or slightly purple at first, then become tan.

The seeds are shiny brown. The seed is used as bird food, and is generally mixed with rapeseed and other seeds that cheapen it. It should be kept in a dry place and away from vermin. Industrially, a flour made from seed is employed in the manufacture of fine cotton goods and silk stuffs. In the Canary Islands, Italy and North Africa, it is used as food.

The species growth form is highly variable. Reed canary grass is considered native to Illinois, but a Eurasian ecotype has been introduced widely. Plant size, panicle shape, and panicle size are not correlated to geographic distribution.

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