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

Briza maxima L.
big quaking grass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #57368)

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Distribution of Briza maxima
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Species Information

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Annual grass from fibrous roots; stems hollow, erect or abruptly bent below, 20-60 cm tall.
Sheaths open, smooth; blades flat, 3-8 mm wide, the margins rough short-hairy; ligules membranous, 2-5 mm long.
Inflorescence a panicle 2-10 cm long, with all flowers and branches borne on one side of the rachis, drooping at the tips, the branches usually solitary, each with 1 to 3 spikelets, the spikelets 1 to 12, 10-20 (25) mm long, 7- to 20-flowered, drooping from slender stalks, smooth or appressed-hairy, often reddish-brown, articulating above the glumes; glumes 5-7 mm long, concave, nearly globe-shaped, 5- to 9-nerved, more or less leathery; lemmas 6-8 mm long, similar to the glumes, 7- to 9-nerved; paleas up to 2/3 as long as the lemmas; lodicules 2, thin, membranous, about 0.7 mm long; ovaries smooth; anthers scarcely 1 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Spring
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry disturbed sites and waste areas in the lowland and steppe zones; rare in SW and SC BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References