15.05   SECALE L.

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Plants annual, biennial, or perennial. Culms 25-120(300) cm. Sheaths open, ligules membranous, truncate, often lacerate; blades flat or involute. Inflorescences laterally compressed, distichous spikes; middle internodes 2-4 mm; disarticulation beneath the florets or in the rachis. Spikelets 10-18 mm, 1 per node, ascending, with 2(3) florets; florets bisexual. Glumes 8-18 mm, shorter than the adjacent lemmas, linear, subulate, scabrous, coriaceous, 1-veined, keeled, keels terminating in an awn, awns to 35 mm; lemmas 10-19 mm, strongly laterally compressed, strongly keeled, keels strongly ciliate, terminating in a conspicuously scabrous awn; anthers 3, 2.3-12 mm, yellow. x = 7. Secale is the classical Latin name for rye.

Secale is a genus of three species; all are native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia. Two species have been found in the Flora region: one is cultivated and frequently persists, the other has been cultivated experimentally in several locations.

Unlike other cereal grasses such as Triticum, Hordeum, and Avena, species of Secale are outcrossing. Secale sylvestre Host is reported to be self-compatible. All three species are diploids. Remains of Secale cereale, cultivated rye, dating to 6000 B.C. have been found in Turkey.

×Triticosecale is an artificially derived hybrid between Triticum and Secale that is now widely cultivated.


SELECTED REFERENCES Frederiksen, S. and G. Petersen. 1998. A taxonomic revision of Secale L. (Triticeae, Poaceae). Nordic J. Bot. 18:399-420; Hitchcock, A.S.1951 [title page 1950]. Manual of the Grasses of the United States, ed. 2, rev. A. Chase. U.S.D.A. Miscellaneous Publication No. 200. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. 1051 pp.

1
Plants annual or biennial; rachis not or tardily disarticulating; lemmas 14-18 mm long ..... 1. S. cereale
Plants perennial; rachis readily disarticulating ; lemmas 8-16 mm long ..... 2. S. strictum


1.   Secale cereale L.
Rye, Seigle, Seigle Cultivé

Plants annual or biennial. Culms (35)50-120(300) cm. Blades (3)4-12 mm wide, usually glabrous. Spikes (2)4.5-12(19) cm, often nodding when mature; disarticulation in the rachis, at the nodes, tardy or the spikes not disarticulating. Glumes 8-20 mm, with scabrous keels, keels terminating in awns, awns 1-3 mm; lemmas 14-18 mm, smooth to scabridulous, awns 7-50 mm; anthers about 7 mm. 2n = 14, 21, 28.

Secale cereale is one of the world's most important cereal grasses; it is also widely used in North America for soil stabilization and, particularly in Canada, for whisky. When dry, the spike is often distinctly nodding.

Frederiksen and Petersen (1998) placed cultivated plants with a nondisarticulating rachis into Secale cereale L. subsp. cereale, and wild or weedy plants with a more fragile rachis into Secale cereale subsp. ancestrale Zhuk.


2.   Secale strictum (C. Presl) C. Presl

Plants perennial, cespitose. Culms (35)60-100(150) cm. Blades2-8 mm wide, glabrous or scabridulous. Spikes (3.5)5-8(11) cm; disarticulation in the rachis, at the nodes, occurring readily. Glumes 8-11 mm, densely scabrous on the keels, acuminate or awned, awns 3-4 mm; lemmas 8-14 mm, awns 2-25 mm. 2n = 14.

Secale strictum is native to Eurasia and, as a disjunct, to South Africa. It grows on dry, stony or sandy soils, often in mountainous areas. So far as is known, it is not established in the Flora region.

Hitchcock (1951) reported that Secale strictum had become established around the Agricultural Experiment Station in Pullman, Washington, but it is no longer present there. Prior to 1931, the station worked on development of a Secale cereale × S. strictum strain that would combine the perennial habit with good seed production. The attempt had been abandoned by 1931, but hybrid seed had been distributed as 'Michaels Grass'. It was originally thought to be derived from a Triticum aestivum × Leymus racemosus cross, but subsequent studies, both morphological and cytological, revealed that it was S. cereale × S. strictum.