Annual, tufted or short-lived perennial grass from fibrous roots, with some vegetative shoots; stems erect, to 150 cm tall.
Sheaths smooth; blades flat, in-rolled in young shoots, often rough-hairy on the upper surfaces, (2) 3-8 (13) mm wide; ear-shaped lobes at the leaf-bases sickle-shaped (rarely absent); ligules 0.5-2 mm long, membranous.
Inflorescence a spike with 5 to 38, 2-ranked, solitary spikelets, 15-45 cm long; spikelets (10-) 11- to 22-flowered, unstalked, 8-31 mm long, 2-10 mm wide, all but the terminal ones with 1 glume; glumes 5-18 mm long, 1/4-1/2 as long as the spikelets; lemmas 4-8.2 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, the awns to 15 mm long (rarely unawned), attached 0.2-0.7 mm below the tips; anthers (2.5) 3-4.5 (5) mm.
A commercially important species as a forage crop and as a rapidly germinating and ephemeral nurse crop in companion planting and soil stabilization. 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.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Lolium multiflorum subsp. italicum (A. Braun) Schinz & R. Keller
Lolium multiflorum var. diminutum Mutel
Lolium multiflorum var. muticum DC.
Lolium perenne subsp. italicum (A. Braun) Husnot
Lolium perenne var. aristatum Willd.
Lolium perenne var. multiflorum (Lam.) Parnell