Conert, H.J. 1992. Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa. Verlag Paul Parey, Berlin and Hamburg, Germany.


Plants perennial, forming loose, light green loose mats, with long, branched yellowish rhizomes. Culms 15-50 cm tall, erect or geniculate, smooth and glabrous, with 4-6 glabrous nodes, extravaginally branched from the base, unbranched above the base. Vegetative shoots with bases covered in ridged scale.

Leaves: sheaths closed to the top, ridged, glabrous or with short scattered divergent hairs; ligules 0.5-1 mm long, hyaline, tubular, with a 0.5-4 long tooth opposite the blade; blades 5-20 cm long, 3-6 mm wide, flat, spreading, thin, lax, abaxial surface and margins scabrous, adacial surface shortly pubescent.

Panicles 5-20 cm long, up to 10 cm wide, upright or nodding, with 2 branches at the lower nodes; rachis smooth; lower branches spreading and lax, proximal portion unbranched and without spikelets, distal portion with 1-6 spikelets; pedicels 2-12 mm long, thin, divergent, scabrous; disarticulation below the bisexual florets, the glumes persistent.

Spikelets 4-7 mm long, eliptical, the lowest floret bisexual floret, with 2-3 sterile florets above clustered to form the rudiment.

Glumes unequal, hyaline, smooth and glabrous, brownish-violet, with paler hyaline margins; lower glume 3-4 mm long, long-elliptical, 3-veined, acute; upper gl ume 4-7 mm long, long ovate, 5-veined, acute or narrowly rounded.

Lowest floret bisexual; callus short, broadly rounded, glabrous; lemma 4-4.5 mm long, elliptical, smooth, glabrous, initially hyaline becoming tougher with age, 7-veined, tip narrowly rounded; palea 2-veined, as long as the lemma, narrowly elliptical, coarsely or roughly hyaline, tough, with strongly protruding narrowly winged, shortly pubescent keels, tip slightly notched; anthers 1.5-2.2 mm.

Rudiment of 2-3 florets, lemmas 2-3 mm long, elliptical, smooth, glabrous; subtending rachilla segment  2-2.5 mm long, thick, usually glabrous, rarely shortly pubescent.

Caryopses about 3.5 mm long, boradly elliptical in outline, smooth, glabrous, finely striate; embryo elliptical, 1/5 the length of the caryopsis; hilum linear, almost as long as the caryopsis.


Widely distributed in Europe, not in Spitzbergen, Iceland, Faeroe Islands, Balearic Islands, and Crete. To Scotland, southern Norway and southern Sweden (Gotland, Oland, north ....,  south Sweden and southwest Finalnd - to northn Spain and northern Portugal, USSR - Europe, area of upper Dneiper, Moldavia in Caucasus, Turkey north and northwest, northern Iran, and in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco. Its distribution mostly coincides with Fagus sylvatica.


The range of Melica uniflora generally coincides with that of Fagus sylvatica. It is occasional to common and abundant in hardwood forests having lush herbaceous understories, particularly in Fagus forests and with Carpinus, rarely in oak beech, In northern Germany, Melica uniflora grows in nutrient rich woodlands on moist to moderately dry, nutrient rich, basic or neutral to moderately acidic, loose or compact, humic sandy-rocky soils or  medium to deep loany soils. In the warmer southern areas, it grows mostly on non-calcareous or superficially decalcified soils. In the cooler northern areas, it prefers calacareous loamy soils.

Melica uniflora  is an indicator of basic conditions, and is a shade plant. Its caryopses are dispersed by ants. It is characteristic of Fagatalia, especially in the Fagetum of the lowlands (Asperulo-Fagetum) also in the Carpinion, rarely in the Quercion pubescentis.

It grows from the plains to the lower montane elevations, extending to 950 m elevation in the Balck forest and to 1520 m in the Alps.

6Flowering time

May to July


7Chromosome number

2n = 18

Multiple reports; see TROPICOS


Melica uniflora shows little variablity. Several varieties have been named on the basis of differences in the vestiture of the leaves but they do not merit formal recognition.

Nomenclature & Synonyms

Melica uniflora Retz. in TROPICOS

Translated and/or edited by

Andreas Leidolf and Mary E. Barkworth, Intermountain Herbarium, Utah State University.