Quality of seed: The colour is light brown, rather similar to that of Meadow Fescue. It is, however, not as dull as the seed of the latter and has a silvery lustre. The seeds are blunter and flatter and always destitute of awns.
The weight varies, the best seed ranging from twenty-five to thirty-five pounds a bushel, poor seed sometimes not exceeding fifteen pounds.
ITALIAN RYE GRASS (Lolium multifloruna Lam.)
Botanical description: Italian Rye is perennial and very similar to Perennial Rye Grass in general appearance. The tufts are alike, but the branches of the Italian Rye rootstock are generally shorter and the whole plant forms a denser tuft. The stems on an average are higher and more delicate than those of Perennial Rye, from which they also differ in being decidedly rough to the hand when rubbed upwards below the inflorescence. When the plants are young they can be distinguished from those of Perennial Rye Grass by the leaves being rolled together when in bud. When fully developed, the leaves are comparatively broad, soft in texture and bright green. The inflorescence has the same general appearance as that of Perennial Rye but differs in some important points. Thus a spikelet contains a greater number of flowers, generally from ten to thirty. When the spike is developed, the grass can be easily distinguished from Perennial Rye by the flowers. These are enclosed within two glumes like those of Perennial Rye, but the outer glume carries a long awn at its top. Some varieties, however, are awnless and may be distinguished by their rolled young leaves and upwardly rough stems.
Geographical distribution: Italian Rye Grass is indigenous to western and southern Europe, northern Africa and Asia Minor. It has been sparingly introduced into North America and is found in only a few places in Canada.
Habitat: It grows naturally in meadows, along ditches and roads, in gardens, openings in woods, etc.
Cultural conditions: Italian Rye Grass is productive on soil rich in humus, sandy and calcareous loarns, and on marls with enough