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

Phleum pratense L.
common timothy (timothy)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13810)

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Distribution of Phleum pratense
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Phleum pratense ssp. pratense

Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems usually enlarged and more or less bulbous at the base, up to 100 cm tall.
Sheaths smooth; blades flat, 4-8 mm wide, the margins rough; ligules blunt, subentire, sometimes the margins irregular-jagged, 2-3 (4) mm long; small ear-shaped lobes at the leaf-bases occasionally present, borne where the blades are freed from the sheaths.
Inflorescence a slender-cylindrical panicle, 4-11 (16) cm long, less than 1 cm wide when pressed; glumes usually short-hairy on the sides, strongly fringed with comblike hairs on the keels, 3-4 mm long, abruptly narrowed to the stout, slightly curved awns, the awns 1-1.5 (rarely 2) mm long; lemmas hairy, blunt and jagged, the midnerves slightly extending beyond the tips and bristlelike, scarcely 2 mm long; paleas nearly equal to the lemmas; anthers 1.6-2.3 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
According to the USDA, this species is a known allelopath.
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic fields, roadsides, waste areas and disturbed sites; common in S BC, less frequent northward; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Phleum pratense

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 1116 2350
Slope Gradient (%) 0 18 230
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 202 355
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
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: BAFA(7), BG(13), BWBS(13), CWH(14), ESSF(72), ICH(43), IDF(105), MH(1), MS(86), PP(10), SBPS(6), SBS(86), SWB(3)


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

Phleum nodosum L.
Phleum pratense subsp. nodosum (L.) Arcang.
Phleum pratense var. nodosum (L.) Huds.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References