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As a result of the alternating spikelets, the floral spikes of Lolium spp. (Rye Grasses) have a distinctive appearance. These grasses are unusual in having only one glume per spikelet, instead of two. There are two other species in this genus that have naturalized in Illinois. Italian Rye Grass can be distinguished from Lolium perenne (English Rye Grass) by the more numerous lemmas in its spikelets (8 or more), which are frequently awned. It also differs from another species, Lolium tremulentum (Darnel), by having glumes that are shorter than spikelets. Another scientific name of Italian Rye Grass is Lolium perenne multiflorum.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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