E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lolium perenne L.
perennial ryegrass (English ryegrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #84248)

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Distribution of Lolium perenne
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Species Information

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Tufted, short-lived perennial grass from rhizomes with some vegetative shoots; stems erect, to 100 cm tall.
Sheaths smooth; blades flat, folded in young shoots, usually smooth, (1) 2-4 (6) mm wide; ear-shaped lobes at leaf-bases sickle-shaped (rarely lacking); ligules 0.5-2 mm long.
Inflorescence a spike with 5 to 37, 2-ranked, solitary spikelets, 3-30 cm long; spikelets (2-) 5- to 9- (10-) flowered, unstalked, 5-22 mm long, 1-7 mm wide, all but the terminal ones with 1 glume; glumes 3.5-15 mm long, (1/3) 1/2-3/4 (to slightly exceeding) the length of the spikelets; lemmas (3.5) 5-9 mm long, 0.8-2 mm wide, unawned, or if awned, the awns to about 8 mm long, attached about 0.2-0.7 mm below the tips; anthers 2-4.2 mm long.
A commercially important species as a popular turf grass and stablizer. On a world-wide basis it is perhaps the single most important forage grass. Since Lolium perenne and L. multiflorum are interfertile and intergrade, they are sometimes considered conspecific. Hybrids between the two species are called Lolium x hybridum Hausskn.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist pastures, fields, meadows, roadsides and disturbed areas in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; rare in SW and SC BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Lolium perenne

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 30 843 1280
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
80 296 330
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 3 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(1), ICH(1), IDF(4), PP(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Lolium multiflorum var. ramosum Guss. ex Arcang.
Lolium perenne
Lolium perenne var. cristatum Pers. ex B.D. Jacks.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References