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6o   FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.

an ordinary grain binder and the sheaves, which must be rather small, should be set three to five together in small shocks. They should be left to cure from two to six weeks, depending on the weather, and then threshed without stacking.

 

Quality of seed: Good seed is bright straw-coloured and contains only a small amount of hulled seed and whole spikelets, or groups of seed not loosened from each other in threshing. It keeps its vitality fairly well for two years. Seed older than that should not be used as the germs are considerably weakened.

CRESTED DOG'S TAIL (Cynosurus cristatus L.) Seed, Plate 26, Fig. 14. Other English name: Dog's Tail Grass.

Botanical description: Crested Dog's Tail is perennial with a short rootstock and grows in loose tufts, consisting chiefly of leafy shoots. The stems are very slender, from one to two feet high, and comparatively few in number. The leaves are narrow, those of the stems shorter than those of the basal shoots. They are folded in the bud and are generally slightly concave when fully developed. The flowers are arranged in a panicle of peculiar shape and construction. The branches are very short and turned towards the same side, thus giving the panicle the appearance of a one-sided spike. Each branch carries two spikelets which are extremely unlike. One is composed of three or four normal flowers which have stamens and pistils and consequently are fertile. The other consists of a number of sharp-pointed scales, arranged in two rows, like the teeth of a two-sided comb. This spikelet has neither stamens nor pistils and is consequently sterile. When the panicle is young the fertile spikelets are hidden by the sterile ones and the panicle has a crested appearance. This look and the shape of the panicle have given the plant its name.

 

Geographical distribution: Crested Dog's Tail is indigenous to almost all parts of Europe and to southwestern Asia. It has been introduced into North America but is found only occasionally in Canada.

 

Habitat: It grows naturally in meadows, on hills and mountain slopes, along seashores and roadsides, etc.


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