|William J. Crins|
Plants annual or perennial; cespitose, sometimes
rhizomatous. Culms 10-180 cm, glabrous or hispidulous; nodes 2-5,
glabrous. Sheaths open, smooth or scabrous; auricles absent; ligules hyaline,
glabrous, obtuse to acute; blades flat, smooth or scabrous over
the veins. Inflorescences open panicles; branches drooping
to ascending, smooth or scabrous. Spikelets dorsally compressed,
with 1 floret; rachillas not prolonged beyond the fertile floret; disarticulation above
the glumes. Glumes equal, equaling or exceeding the lemmas,
membranous, smooth or scabrous; calluses blunt, glabrous; lemmas coriaceous,
glabrous, lustrous, margins involute, obscurely 5-veined; paleas similar
to the lemmas and partly enfolded by them; lodicules 2, free,
glabrous, toothed or not toothed; anthers 3. Caryopses glabrous; hila 1/5
to nearly 1/2 the length of the caryopses. x = 4, 5, 7, 9. Name
from an old Latin word for millet, an appellation which is associated
with species in several different genera.
Milium is a circumtemperate genus of four species. All the species grow in mesic to dry mixed woods and dry open habitats. Milium effusum is native to the Flora region; M. vernale has become established here.
Plants perennial; blades 8-17 mm wide; panicles 10-27 cm long; lemmas 2.3-3 mm long ..... 1. M. effusum
Plants annual; blades 1.9-5 mm wide; panicles 4-11.5 cm long; lemmas 2-2.3 mm long ..... 2. M. vernale
1. Milium effusum L.
Wood Millet, Millet Diffus
Plants perennial; rhizomatous. Culms 55-140 cm, erect from decumbent bases, glabrous; nodes 3-5. Sheaths glabrous; ligules 3-9 mm, obtuse-erose; blades 5-26 cm long, 8-17 mm wide, flat, glabrous, equably distributed on the culms. Panicles 10-27 cm; branches 1-9 cm, in pairs or fascicles, flexuous, spreading or drooping, scabrous, the spikelets mainly near the ends. Glumes 2.5-5 mm, scabrous, 3-veined, acute to acuminate; lemmas 2.3-3 mm, acute; anthers 1.5-2 mm. 2n = 14, 28.
Milium effusum is widespread in temperate to subarctic regions in the Northern Hemisphere. North American plants belong to M. effusum var. cisatlanticum Fernald, an elegant native grass that grows in woodlands in eastern North America. It differs from M. effusum L. var. effusum, which grows from Europe to Asia and Japan, in having 2-3 panicle branches at most nodes and spikelets 2.5-5 mm long, rather than 4-5 panicle branches at most nodes and spikelets about 3 mm long. A cultivar of M. effusum, 'Aureum', is grown for its yellowish leaves. 2010: Haines raised M. effusum var. cisatlanticum to subspecific rank as Milium effusum subsp. cisatlanticum (Fernald) A. Haines.
2. Milium vernale M.-Bieb.
Early Millet, Spring Milletgrass
Plants annual. Culms 10-70(90) cm, erect, solitary or clumped, retrorsely scabridulous; nodes 2-3, glabrous, green to purple. Sheaths retrorsely scabrous; ligules 2.5-4.5 mm, obtuse to acute, occasionally lacerate; blades 1.7-8.2 cm long, 1.9-5 mm wide, scabrous over the veins, the majority concentrated on the lower portion of the culms. Panicles 4-11.5 cm; branches 0.5-6 cm, straight, ascending to erect, antrorsely scabrous, spikelets confined to the distal 1/2. Glumes 2.5-3.2 mm, scabridulous, 3-veined, acuminate; lemmas 2-2.3 mm; anthers about 1.5 mm. 2n = 18.
Native to Eurasia, Milium vernale was first detected in North America in 1987, when it was found infesting winter wheat and other crops in north-central Idaho (Callihan & Pavek 1988). The infested area has since increased.