BugwoodWiki Article

bulbous canarygrass
Phalaris aquatica L.


Phalaris aquatica is a perennial grass that can grow from 3-4 ft. (0.9-1.2 m) tall.
Leaves are hairless, coarse in texture, grayish to blue in color and can grow from 4-15 in. (10.2-38.1 cm) long and 0.25-0.75 in. (0.64-1.9 cm) wide.
Flower heads are dense, cylindrical, 2-5 in. (5-12.7 cm) long, and spike-like. Flowers are small and yellow. Blooming occurs in May and June.
Seeds are small and black in color. Some plants can produce up to 40,000 seeds per square meter under certain conditions.
Ecological Threat
Phalaris aquatica is often found along roadsides, in coastal valleys, and grasslands. It is native to the Mediterranean region.

General Description:[edit]

Phalaris tuberosa is now considered a synonym of P. aquatica. In the following text, the two names are interchangeable.

The following desciption is from Munz and Keck (1968).

Phalaris tuberosa is a perennial grass forming large clumps with short rhizomes around the base. The culms are stout and can grow up to 150 cm tall. The panicle is narrow, 5-15 cm long, dense, spikelike, and unbranched. The glumes are 5-6 mm long with a scabrous (rough) keel. The fertile lemma is 4 mm long, ovate-lanceolate, and strigose (with sharp and stiff appressed straight hairs). There is usually one sterile lemma, about one-third as long as the fertile one.

P. tuberosa can be distinguished from all but one other Phalaris species, P. arundinacea, by its rhizomatous growth habit. In the case of P. arundinacea, which also has underground rhizomes, the length of the sterile lemmas must be ascertained. In P. tuberosa this length is 1.5 mm, whereas in P. arundinacea it is 1 mm.


Image Sets
View other image sets:


EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

EDDMapS Distribution

State Invasive List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their invasive species list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

State Invasives List

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Phalaris

Other System Links

Plants: PHAQ
GRIN: 27511
ITIS: 41341

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
Harding grass, Hardinggrass

Related Scientific Names:

Phalaris tuberosa L.(Synonym)


Category: Grass or Grasslike